An update from Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge.
I wish to briefly update you on the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 as they relate to football.
As much as I understand everyone’s enthusiasm and excitement about the potential return to training, and in due course, a return to play, again I ask for everyone’s patience while we wait for additional information to be released by the NSW Government and while we finalise our Return to Training resources.
Here is how we are planning our next steps:
- Earlier today, FFA released a Statement (Circular No.20-10) titled Game Plan for Resuming Grassroots Football in Australia, whereby it essentially lifted its national temporary suspension of grassroots football activities, recognising the easing, to varying degrees, of COVID-19 related restrictions by the States and Territories of Australia. The Circular is available here;
- that on Friday, 15 May 2020, the NSW Government is expected to confirm that, from that date, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed;
- Following this announcement and the change to the Public Health Order, we are told to expect the release of a framework from the NSW Office of Sport which will expand upon the relaxation of social distancing measures from a sporting perspective;
- In anticipation of this, Football NSW has been working with Northern NSW Football and Capital Football (ACT) on a set of resources to assist the football community understand what this means with regard to returning to training. These resources include Return to Training Guidelines , a two page Return to Train Checklist and finally, a ‘Return to Training’ colour poster that can be printed out and displayed at venues, clubs and facilities and disseminated widely to parents and players. These resources will be tabled at, and considered by, the Football NSW Board at its meeting on Thursday, 14 May 2020);
- These resources flow on from and are in alignment with previous information provided by the Federal Government through the AIS’ Reboot Framework as well as the FFA guidelines (of several weeks ago), albeit with specific reference to football and developed locally for the NSW environment;
- Following the release of the NSW Office of Sport’s framework, we will make any necessary adjustments, seek the Office of Sport approval (especially in relation to number of players per pitch) and provide these Resources (the Guidelines etc) to you as soon as practically possible;
- All being well, this may occur on Friday, however for planning purposes, I would suggest that we work towards next Monday (18 May 2020) so as to allow some slippage in time, especially since we are waiting on the Office of Sport;
- In support of these Resources, Football NSW is planning to host a webinar/teleconference session on Tuesday evening (19 May 2020, exact time to be advised) during which we will walk Associations, Clubs and coaches/volunteers through the Resources. During that presentation, our Technical staff will also provide coaches with some ideas as to how to best conduct sessions when constrained to no more than 10 people and so on;
- It is our intention to broadly publicise this session to as many people as possible but to also record it for dissemination the next day to those people unable to join us live;
- With all of the above in mind, it is unlikely we will be able to return to training until at least Wednesday, 20 May 2020 and this too may change. It is our shared objective that as many people as possible watch, learn, implement and follow these guidelines in the interests of everyone’s health and safety. I cannot stress enough that the failure to comply with these guidelines may end up jeopardising or delaying further our full return to competition. It may also jeopardise the constructive and valuable relationship we’ve built with the State Government as being a real leader amongst the state sporting entities.
As always, I commit to keeping everyone informed as we progress this.
Again, thank you for your ongoing cooperation, support and assistance during this difficult period.