Two of Victoria’s biggest sporting bodies have reached a major agreement that could have football season played into late October.
While the start of community football competitions remains up in the air, the decision will allow for officials to get creative in their planning.
The key agreement outcomes are:
- Football will have priority use access to fixture competitions up to no later than the following:
- Home and away football fixtures for seniors and juniors to conclude on or before Sunday, September 27;
- Finals (or ‘lightning premierships’) for juniors to conclude on or before Sunday, October 11; and
- Finals fixtures for seniors to conclude on or before Sunday, October 18
- Cricket will have priority use access to fixture competitions from no earlier than the following (with play to commence when safe to do so — including ensuring matches do not proceed until pitches are adequately prepared):
- Premier Cricket 1st and 2nd XI competition (men and women) — Saturday, October 10;
- Junior competitions from Friday, October 16; and
- All other senior competitions from Friday, October 23.
B. Where community football competitions choose to not commence their season or have completed their season by the end of September, cricket associations shall retain priority flexibility to schedule matches from October 1.
AFL Victoria head of community football Stephen O’Donohue thanked the team at Cricket Victoria for its work to reach this agreement.
“We are pleased to have reached this outcome for cricket and football in Victoria, sports that mean so much to many people in communities across the state,” O’Donohue said.
“We will continue to consult closely with the State Government and relevant medical authorities, and if a further easing of restrictions is to occur, we now have the flexibility that provides local football leagues with an opportunity to hopefully get games away in the coming months.”
Cricket Victoria chief executive Andrew Ingleton thanked AFL Victoria for its collaboration.
“This delivers a fair outcome for both cricket and football to conduct our seasons as close to normal as we can in the current landscape,” Ingleton said.
“We understand our respective communities and our partners in state and local government are looking for clear direction on upcoming seasons and this agreement provides that.
“I’d like to thank AFL Victoria and our team at Cricket Victoria for their comprehensive work to deliver this.”
Most combined football and cricket grounds across Victoria will have a 3-4 week break between football matches finishing and cricket matches starting to adequately prepare the wickets and hand over the facility between clubs.