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Parents asked for input on junior footy return date, clubs given green light to train

The message conveyed that there was a “possibility” of a seven round home-and-away season, plus finals, commencing late July.

“We would naturally adhere to the prevailing government, EDFL and AFL regulations relating to COVID-19. Club player and member health and safety remains at the forefront of all decisions being made by the committee during these unprecedented times,” it read.

An EDFL spokesman said this was one of a number of options for a return to play and it was not something that came from AFL Victoria, which sits above the majority of the state’s junior football competitions.

He said the overall goal for the competition was to try and finish any season by late October.

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AFL Victoria told clubs on Monday they could return to training ahead of an as yet undetermined return to play date.

However, one major senior Melbourne male and female competition, the VAFA, said it would not yet “advise” clubs to resume training.

“The VAFA is yet to advise clubs of the date which they can resume training,” it said in an email to clubs.

Clubs can have two groups of 10 train on the same oval so long as they’re split into defined areas.

“We encourage all Victorian leagues, clubs and volunteers to familiarise themselves with the training guide and to formulate an education and implementation plan to prepare their respective clubs to return to train safely,” AFL head of community football Victoria Stephen O’Donohue said.

Training must be no contact, with 1.5m social distancing adhered to. Footballs can be sued but no additional equipment, like cones, are allowed.

No clubrooms or change rooms are allowed open, each club needs to nominate a “COVID safe officer” to undergo training and clubs must log all people involved in training.

Given clubs rely largely on crowd income there remains uncertainty from many competitions as to whether it is worth playing in 2020, even though there would be much to gain from the perspective of community wellbeing.

Last week the Victorian government announced a $40 million funding boost into state associations, leagues and clubs.

Most are keen to get junior programs up and running if government restrictions allow however, so the modified training process is the first step towards reaching that outcome.

AFL VICTORIA RETURN TO SMALL OUTDOOR GROUP TRAINING GUIDE

The following guide has been established to support teams ‘Returning to Small Outdoor Group Training’ phase under the current Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions. Community clubs and teams have an obligation to strictly adhere to these protocols at every training session. The key principle for training must be, ‘Get in, train, get out’.

Small outdoor group training of up to 10 people
Clubs can undertake training in groups no larger than 10 people. The group of 10 does not include a coach / support staff who are reasonably required to manage the activity. Two groups of 10 can utilise the same oval provided they do not operate closely together, and the oval is split into two zones. No more than 2 small training groups per oval at any one time with groups not permitted to interact.

Social distancing and strictly no contact
All training must strictly observe social distancing requirements of 1.5m and must be non-contact (i.e. no tackling, no bumping, no marking contests, etc.).

Footballs allowed, but no other equipment
Footballs can be used for small outdoor group training, however only limited additional equipment is permitted (i.e. field marking cones are permitted).

No access to change rooms
All club rooms, change rooms and wet areas are not to be used as part of the return to small outdoor group training.

Hygiene protocols in place
Clubs to implement hygiene protocols as per the Victorian State Government guidelines (i.e. washing hands, avoiding facial touching, staying at home if sick, covering mouth and elbow to cough or sneeze etc).

At least one COVID safe officer
Clubs to nominate an official(s) to undertake the Australian Government online COVID-19 infection control training prior to recommencement of club activity.

A register of participants
Club to implement a log, or register, to keep a track of which participants are in attendance at all training sessions.

COVIDSafe app
The club to encourage all players, volunteers and families to download the COVIDSafe app to help in tracing the spread of COVID-19.

Local government approval
The club has received approval from the Local Government to access the oval for small outdoor group training.

Follow directions
The club and training groups understand that they must follow the direction and advice of local and state authorities at all times.

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