To our AFL Victoria Football Community,
Last week we saw the announcement from the elite game of its planned roadmap to Return to Play. We are now in a position to be able to share more definitive plans in terms of what this means for community football in Victoria.
Returning to play in a safe, hygienic and controlled manner is paramount to the AFL. The safety and wellbeing of our participants is our number one priority. As such, our return to play strategy has been focused on ensuring we have the clear endorsement of State Government and public health officials at every phase of return.
Each State Government is responsible for determining what level Australian football is in their State and approving when we can transition into the next stage.
Following Victorian Government advice around the return of community sport last week, AFL Victoria will release its return to train protocols early this week and is endorsing a return to club sanctioned training from Monday, May 25. This timing will provide the opportunity to communicate our protocols with Leagues and allow volunteers and clubs time to digest the protocols, go through an education period and prepare themselves ahead of returning to club sanctioned training.
In summary, the return to train protocols for community football in Victoria will enable:
– Training to resume in groups of up to 10 people. The group of 10 does not include a coach or the minimum number of 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.
We will continue to work with the State Government to ensure alignment with their advice, and in the event of further easing of restrictions, we hope to be able to return to full training and competition later in the year, with hygiene and safety protocols firmly in place.
Our primary focus is preparing to return to train in a safe environment in a well prepared and educated manner. In order for this return to play to be successful, and in line with Government advice, it is essential that clubs and individuals work within the timelines and protocols and do not move ahead of the level and restrictions in place.
On Friday, 15 May, the AFL re-opened transfers until 30 June. Further information about transfers will be provided via a comprehensive FAQ document.
In addition, an important part of this return to play process is the requirement of each Club to appoint a COVID Safety Officer that is responsible for ensuring these protocols are adhered to and participants can return to a prepared and safe environment.
We strongly recommend all participants immediately download the COVID-SAFE App, to ensure we can quickly trace and manage any outbreaks in the community. We all have an important role to play in ensuring that not only football returns, but that Australia returns safely towards a normal way of life.
We understand this announcement will raise many questions for Club officials, players, parents/guardians and volunteers. As such, the AFL has prepared a set of FAQs that hopefully address most of these questions. We will continue to update these as the situation progresses and our return to train protocols are released. We will also be providing a suite of educational resources and COVID safety posters that can be downloaded from www.afl.com.au/clubhelp.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward with cautious optimism towards returning to training as a first step.