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‘It will cost people’s jobs’: Community sports bemoan delay in resumption date for season

“We need to hear from them, what is the safe return to community sport date?”

Netball is hoping to get a season in from July to September, with Ms Campbell stating that the financials would be otherwise dire for community clubs across the state.

“We need to run a shortened season because financially, we need that to happen across the whole netball economy,” she said. “On top of that, we also have this situation where it will cost people’s jobs and we’ll have to rebuild what we look like and how we deliver the sport for years to come.”

Netball NSW controls almost 900 clubs across 118 associations with 115,000 playing members across the state, with the sport allowed to commence training last week.

Community rugby league across NSW is looking at a July 1 training restart, and a July 18 competition restart date.

Football NSW was given permission for small group training sessions to recommence from Friday; AFL training has been allowed in NSW and ACT since Thursday. For those that have been able to start train, strict COVID-19 training protocols are in place with a maximum of ten players allowed to practise at one time.

NSW and ACT AFL acting chief executive Tiffany Robertson said that the return to training on Thursday was a move in the right direction and clubs are ultimately ready to prepare for their 2020 season.

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“They’re eager to get out on the footy field and kick the footy and get a season in for 2020,” she said. “We probably need a two to three week preseason to make sure that we are ready to go once competition play is announced.”

Both the ACT and NSW have not been given a date as to when community sport would be able to return.

“Returning to play this year for the AFL and New South Wales and the ACT is critical,” Ms Robertson said. “Our local community clubs are both, at times, the heartbeat of local communities.”

“We’re 100 per cent behind getting a season going this year so that we can return to those environments which give so much to our participants.”

Acting sports minister Geoff Lee said resuming community does not currently align with physical distancing requirements for the general public.

“It is up to the sporting organisation to adapt or modify their sport, to be in line with the Public Health Orders,” he said.

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