K rock Football

Modified season scrapped

Leopold and St Mary’s were among the clubs interested in a modified season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

A DECLINE in interest from clubs and concerns around the increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria has contributed to AFL Barwon scrapping plans for a modified football and netball season.

The local governing body decided to not pursue a shortened competition on Monday night.

It is understood just six GFL clubs were interested in the concept, with some unable to guarantee their participation.

A statement from AFL Barwon said clubs were also concerned any injuries suffered during the competition could impact on a player’s 2021 season and uncertainty around restrictions, with fears the entire state may be forced into lockdown.

Restriction on crowd numbers was also flagged as an issue.

“The intention of the format was for it to be played under less burden for volunteers and allow the public to watch football and netball,” the statement said.

“However, following AFL Victoria’s updated Return to Play protocols, particularly regarding “necessary” spectators, this is no longer achievable.

“While it has remained AFL Barwon’s intention to return to play, our main priority of maintaining the health and sustainability of the region has never wavered.

“All protocols and return to play dates are subject to advice from governing bodies and the Victorian Chief Health Officer and Victorian Government.”

AFL Barwon said it would assist clubs in coordinating senior practice matches, with a number flagging the potential of organising standalone games after the season proper was cancelled on June 9.

Junior football and netball are still scheduled to start on July 18, with senior female football and under 19s due for an August commencement.

“… we have a great opportunity to showcase and shine a light on these competitions,” AFL Barwon said.

“We look forward to seeing clubs immerse themselves in their Junior football and netball and Senior Female football programs this season.”

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