Whilst a ball is yet to be kicked in formal competitions, the St George Football Association remains confident that football will be played in 2020.
The National Principles for the resumption of Sport and Recreational activities were recently released by the Federal Government and National Cabinet, which followed the AIS's Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment.
SGFA CEO Craig Kiely said that the Association and its member Clubs have been proactively working together preparing for return to football.
"Football in 2020 has not been cancelled, it's been postponed, and we can't wait to be given the green light to resume". Kiely stated.
We have established a COVID-19 sub-committee with our Clubs and have been in regular dialogue with our governing bodies and other Associations".
"Naturally, the safety and wellbeing of all football participants, and that of the wider community, remains the paramount concern for SGFA". Kiely said.
Currently the temporary suspension of football activities still remains in New South Wales, however will likely ease in the coming weeks.
"We know that when football returns it will be a different experience to any other season and will need to be in line with relevant medical guidelines and restrictions". Kiely stated.
"At this stage we are awaiting further advice from the NSW government in relation to the approval of Football NSW Guidelines for Returning to Training (and related resources)".
We are hopeful that this will occur in the coming days which will also need to align with any local government requirements". Kiely said.
SGFA recently surveyed its members with over 2,500 responses and it is clear people can't wait to get back playing.
"We had over 80% of the membership state that if the restrictions are lifted, they still want to play football this season and a large portion of those are willing to play into October". Kiely stated.
SGFA has been in dialogue with both Georges River and Bayside Council regarding ground permits to try and accommodate an extended season.
"Both councils have been very supportive so far in working with our requests and we are confident that an outcome can be reached that will allow for all community sports to operate their respective seasons". Explained Kiely.
The Association has modelled various competition structure options over the past few months, however based on current information Kiely suggested that a July kick off is most likely.
"We are hoping that restrictions will continue to ease and that everyone can soon get back to training, in the first instance, and then ultimately playing matches". Kiely said.
If we are able to deliver a July to October season, that optimizes playing time for participants would be terrific outcome for everyone in our view given the impact COVID-19 has had on our way of life". Kiely continued.
The Association has called the local football members to support our community during this difficult time.
"For many years local businesses have supported our local clubs. This may be the local grocer, butcher, tradesman or the like. During this difficult time, if possible, please support our local businesses to ensure that when normality returns our community returns stronger." Kiely said
The Association is also encouraging all football participants to download and use the Governments COVIDSafe app.