The Eastern Football Netball League (EFNL) has announced that its senior football competition will not go ahead this year due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.
In a joint statement with the Northern Football Netball League (NFNL) on 3 June, both leagues declared that seniors, reserves, veterans and Under 19s competitions – for men’s and women’s – would be cancelled.
The EFNL also cancelled its netball season, while both leagues will push forward with this year’s junior competitions.
EFNL CEO Troy Swainston said the league conducted a lengthy and thorough consultation process before making its decision.
Mr Swainston said the league was committed to beginning 2021 with all of its clubs in the strongest possible position to succeed in the long term.
“The EFNL has maintained a view throughout this process that we do not want one club to come back next year worse off than they are now,” he said.
“All clubs were aware of the challenges associated with managing a reduced season under Covid-19 rules and restrictions and were very open, balanced, and frank about where their club sat.
“Clubs expressed concerns about their financials, player numbers, committees, older volunteers, crowd restrictions and their inability to manage crowds at open public spaces.
“We must make decisions based on what is best in both the short and the long-term. The information we have gathered from our clubs together with the latest medical advice, has determined that cancelling the senior football and netball competitions in 2020 is the only viable option.
“The health and safety of the community and club and league sustainability have always been our top priorities.”
It is understood that during the EFNL’s consultation process senior clubs raised numerous concerns about a season going ahead.
Concerns included the financial burden playing half a season would bring, the numerous additional requirements for volunteers, the inability to effectively manage social distancing in crowds and not wanting to play without the local community in attendance.
The EFNL will release a final decision on the structure of junior football as additional social distancing and health protocol updates come to hand.