AFL Victoria requests ‘return to play’ plan from state government

By Brayden May

AFL Victoria wants a clear ‘return to play’ strategy from the state government by the end of this week.

A report in The Age newspaper said the state’s governing body has written to Community Sport Minister Ros Spence suggesting contact training should begin on June 29, with games to follow on July 11.

“We need to get a clear road map to return to the competitions,” AFL Victoria chairman Ray Horsburgh told The Age.

“Some clubs, some leagues can't hang on any longer and will close up.”

In the letter written by chief executive Rick Bell, AFL Victoria claims a plan is needed to help support “the future long-term sustainability of our sport”.

While it also raises concerns that club volunteers may suffer “significant fatigue” if no plan is put into place.

Meanwhile another Goulburn Valley League club has announced the league is working towards a July 18 start date.

A week ago, the league shut down speculation that the date had been set after Rochester FNC posted a statement on Facebook.

However, in a letter to sponsors, a second GVL club has confirmed a mid-July opening was touted at a meeting between club presidents and the competition board.

The league again denied the start date down when contacted on Tuesday morning.

Next week looms as D-Day for the GVL and Murray League with club and league officials set to meet to decide their immediate futures for 2020.

It has been widely reported that any decision will rely on crowds being able to attend matches.

News Corp reported last week that AFL Victoria had asked the state government for an exemption to allow for crowds of up to 500 people.

From this week, clubs have been allowed to train in groups of up to 20, but it still remains non-contact.

All clubs have also had to employ a COVID health officer.

The Heathcote District and Kyabram District Football Netball Leagues have already made the decision to cancel their respective 2020 seasons.

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