As a result of the Victorian Government’s decision to ease its conditions of Stage 3 restrictions relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Football Victoria (FV) is now in the process of finalising its Return to Play strategy.
Already, Government decisions have allowed football clubs to resume training in groups of 10 or less, and we expect that number to be increased in the following weeks, provided there are no major future outbreaks of the Coronavirus.
FV is committed to taking a cautious and sensible approach with regard to the safety of all participants in our sport, be they players, coaches, staff or fans.
However, we also understand there is a pressing need for clarity regarding when competitions are expected to resume.
FV has been engaged in ongoing discussions with FFA, State and Federal Governments (including Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV)) and with clubs at all levels to establish a suitable time to Return to Play. This has involved the development of a number of scenarios (including the one below) which are still being finalised.
It is important to note that for some clubs, re-starting will be a relatively simple measure, while others have a large number of issues to consider before they can resume. FV’s goal is to get everyone playing again as soon as it is safe to do so.
As a result of the latest easing of restrictions, Football Victoria is targeting the following start dates for the proposed resumption of play:
For our Community Clubs (Seniors & Juniors), the proposed resumption date is June 28, 2020.
For our NPL Junior Clubs, the proposed resumption date is June 20, 2020.
For our NPL Senior clubs, we are hopeful of resuming play in early July. This continues to be worked through with the clubs as we understand the added complexities of re-starting professional and semi-professional clubs.
Of course, these dates are our target dates only and are subject to the further advice of the Federal and State Chief Health Officers - they may be revised should the Victorian Government and SRV advise new dates as we move through the announced stages of the resumption of sport.
Our decision to go public with these dates is indicative of our commitment to ensure that competitive football at all levels returns as soon as possible.
Football Victoria will continue to keep the football community informed and updated in the coming weeks with regard to any developments, especially in regard to the resumption of increased training numbers and, ultimately, the return of competition play.
Whilst we are delighted to see the manner in which our clubs have adjusted to the new realities of modified training and limited social contact, we remind our entire football community that any breaches of the existing social distancing rules may compromise our ability to resume football.
In relation to the Return to Training Conditions published late last week, we have updated our FAQs to provide further detail in relation to those requirements: https://www.footballvictoria.com.au/covid-faq