Sport

BASL seniors to return July 26

By Alex Mitchell

Bendigo Amateur Soccer League is planning for a return to senior action in less than a month.

That is the word from league president Aaron Shooter, who said about 30 individual teams across the four senior grades (seniors, reserves, women's and youth) had signalled an intention to hit the pitch when play returns on July 26.

The league's juniors are set to commence their season this weekend, although Shepparton and Tatura-based teams compete in the Shepparton Junior Soccer Association rather than BASL juniors.

With strict coronavirus measures to be followed across all grades, Shooter was thrilled his organisation could give a platform to those who wanted to compete after a tough period.

“It's super exciting; we polled our senior BASL member populous maybe three or four weeks ago to get the feeling for if the people wanted to undertake sport given everything that has gone on,” Shooter said.

“The general consensus was about 80 per cent wanted to take part.

“We're super excited to provide that for our players, we're lucky we're a bit further out from Melbourne, and even just to have the juniors running out this weekend after being cooped up for so long is a great feeling. I'm sure that will be the same feeling for many of the seniors.”

Of district teams, only Shepparton has confirmed its playing status to date, opting against fielding teams in any senior grade.

Shooter said the league was waiting for verbal confirmations to finalise their status before developing a fixture, stating the last round of games was likely to be in early October.

And he emphasised no club was being forced to play, particularly if it did not feel it could financially justify competing this season.

“It really depends which club you talk to, some rely more heavily on sponsors and some more on game-day takings,” Shooter said.

“But we certainly didn't want to put any club in a poor financial position, if any club did not want to play this season there were no penalties, it is just about putting in whatever teams you can.”