The postponement of all grassroots football in Australia has been extended to 31 May, 2020.
The decision announced today by Football Federation Australia CEO James Johnson (see below) comes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its continuing implications.
The initial suspension, from 17 March, was scheduled to end on 14 April.
The new guidelines once more affect all sanctioned football in Western Australia, including competitions, training, trials, programs, coaching clinics and other football activities.
Football West CEO James Curtis said the extension was not a surprise considering the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and that Football West would continue to support clubs, associations and other stakeholders.
Mr Curtis said: “It is naturally very disappointing that there will be no football until 31 May but the health and safety of people is the priority and, like the FFA, we will be guided by the health experts. It is about doing the right thing.
“The news today will hurt across the board. We remain in regular talks with Federal, State and Local governments to try to ease the burden on our clubs and associations, and in turn their suppliers and other business partners.
“I have been proud of how the WA football community has reacted to this situation and we urge everyone to continue to respect each other and the wider community.”
Mr Curtis said while the situation was painful, the long-term future of the game in WA remained positive.
“There has been so much good work done over the past few years and that will stand us in good stead when we come through the other side,” he said.
“We have spoken to many of our partners recently and they have been positive and encouraging.
“As I said earlier this week, yes this is a time for consolidation and planning, but it is also a time for innovation and new opportunity. There is too much talent in the football community for us not to succeed.
“And I want to reiterate – there will be a season in 2020. We don’t know yet how it will look, but there will be football this year.”
FFA Media Release: Extension of the suspension of grassroots football in Australia
Wednesday, 1 April 2020 Sydney, Australia
Football Federation Australia (FFA) today advised that, in light of ongoing developments since its original announcement, including stricter measures imposed by the Federal Government in response to COVID-19, the temporary suspension to sanctioned grassroots football competitions and associated training would remain in place until at least 31 May 2020.
The decision is another in a series of measures taken by FFA in response to COVID-19 in consultation with its State and Territory Member Federations and
the National COVID-19 Working Committee.
FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said: “Since our initial announcement, there have been numerous declarations made by, and introduced, across all levels of Government. The measures have continuously tightened restrictions around community gatherings, and the measures announced by the Prime Minister recently increased these restrictions further. While we were not due to make a formal assessment until 14 April 2020, we felt it best to consider our position now in light of this most recent announcement.
“We have determined, with the full backing of all Member Federations, that the temporary suspension to sanctioned grassroots football competitions and associated training will remain in place until at least 31 May 2020. We will continue to stay in close communications with our Member Federations in the lead up to 31 May 2020, to ensure that the individual circumstances of each state and territory in relation to the status of COVID-19 and the measures or restrictions imposed by individual State/Territory Governments are being considered.
“These are unprecedented times and at this moment, it is very difficult to predict what further measures will be introduced, or for how much longer current measures will be in place. As we have done with all our decisions to date, we will remain agile and responsive to the prevailing circumstances and still remain optimistic that our Member Federations, which are already considering what adjusted competitions will look like, will be able to complete the grassroots season this year.
“Any decision to resume grassroots football will be made in line with the Federal Government, taking into account the latest health advice at the time to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the football and wider community, and in full consultation with our Member Federations and the National COVID-19 Working Committee. The safety of the football community remains our priority.
“We recognise that our participants across the country are eager to understand what all of this means for them so we hope that the announcement today can give them some piece of mind and we ask that they remain positive during these difficult times. As a sport, we must continue to undertake our civic duty as a responsible citizen and do everything we can to contribute to the national efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Football people are resilient, have a strong moral compass and, consequently, I am sure our community will understand this position.”
FFA will continue to communicate material updates in the lead up to 31 May 2020.