As announced by NSWRL, community football will be returning to action as soon as July 18. These decisions were made based on advice given by the government as well as health authorities earlier this month.
The decision means that local competitions ranging from the under 18 age groups and below will be able to resume play next month and start training as early as next week across NSW. With over 100,000 youths players and club officials returning to action this next few months of training will be key in preparing their mental and physical fitness before returning to the field in July.
The NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden stated that training for teams are free to return once clubs have shown compliance with NSWRL’s COVID-19 regulations, a set of guidelines that were created as part of the Government’s “Return to Sport Framework which can be found here.
“It is really important though that we all remain vigilant and adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines that have been set so we can all enjoy the return of sport for the long-term.” Trodden said.
Part of the new NSWRL COVID-19 regulations will require training sessions to occur with groups of no more than 10 players with minimal contact. Full team training is set to resume on July 1st. The shortened season is set to commence for many on July 18th which is the end of holidays prior to term 3. However a return date for grassroot adult competitions remains unconfirmed.
A set of biosecurity protocols that are currently being drafted and set to be finalised later this month will see a limit of people at games and larger gap between fixtures in an attempt to minimise the contact between spectators and players. One of these many restrictions is the limitation of parents at the game, with only one parent per player is able to attend games.
These protocols will also limit the amount of people who are allowed to enter the dressing room and completely ban access under certain circumstances. Overseas travellers and those presenting flu-like symptoms could potentially be barred from attending games entirely as part of the protocols. All grounds and facilities within them will also have to adhere to a strict cleaning regime with sanitiser and cleaning stations to be placed around the fields.
With team training resuming as early as next week, preparing players and grounds officials for the new format of play will be one of the largest tasks that clubs will have to face in the road to normality.