COVID-19 | GVL likely on ice until June

By Alex Mitchell

The Goulburn Valley League and Kyabram District League met last night to formally suspend their competitions until June in keeping with AFL Goulburn Murray's coronavirus guidelines.

After AFLGM postponed the beginning of its leagues until at least May 31, the GVL held a board meeting last night while the KDL had an extraordinary general meeting, with both exceedingly likely to follow the region body's lead.

GVL operations manager Jo Spencer said before the meeting it was about working out how the league would proceed with its compressed season.

“The league is meeting tonight to work out a strategy and what will happen going forward,” she said.

“That's about how the fixture would look among other things.

“But it's just such a fluid situation, it's constantly evolving. We could make all the plans in the world and then on Friday they could need to change entirely.”

Even if a district league wanted to play in spite of the AFLGM guidance, it appears almost impossible it could do so, with council and the umpiring fraternity to observe the near-three-month suspension.

Greater Shepparton City Council informed local leagues earlier this week bookings relating to its facilities were all cancelled.

“Please be advised that all bookings for meetings, training and competition use for council-booked venues are now cancelled until May 31 in line with the AFL update,” an email read.

“Council requests all keys issued to clubs to be returned immediately.”

It is understood the Campaspe Shire Council will follow suit in the coming days.

And Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association president Andrew Moore wrote to Goulburn Valley, Murray, Kyabram District, Northern Country Women's and Shepparton District Junior football league committees and clubs informing them his umpires would not be in action until June.

“At this point in time the GVFUA plans to follow this direction from the AFL and AFLGM and not umpire any matches until after May 31,” Moore said.

“This is an ever-changing situation; the GVFUA executive will be meeting again in the next few days to discuss further.

“The GVFUA executive will work with AFLGM, leagues and other interested parties to work out the next few months and what they might look like.

“Any scheduled practice matches that may go ahead this upcoming weekend will no longer be umpired by GVFUA umpires.”