Football returning under strict rules

Football returning under strict rules

Local football will return this Sunday with the East Gippsland Junior Football Association finals getting underway under strict COVID guidelines.

The weakening of restrictions at 11.59pm on Tuesday meant community sport could return with numerous rules to follow.

East Gippsland Football Netball League and Gippsland league will return to action a week later on August 7, with revised fixtures for the remaining rounds.

The junior finals – under 15: Lakes Entrance v Lindenow (12.30pm); Lucknow v Wy Yung (2.30pm); under 13: Lindenow v Lakes Entrance (9.30am); Wy Yung v Orbost Snowy (11am) – will take place at Bairnsdale city oval with the following rules:

East Gippsland football and netball will return with a revised draw. The season will recommence on Saturday, August 7, with the scheduled round 15. Round 16 will be played the following week (August 14) with the finals scheduled to start on August 21 and 22, with the preliminary final on August 28 and the grand final on September 4.

These dates are subject to change should the state be sent into another lockdown.

Currently no spectators are allowed for round 15 and unknown number of spectators for round 16 with restrictions expected to change once again prior to the round.

“The commissioners are aware of the financial burden on clubs playing with no crowds,” Football Netball East Gippsland administration officer, Rod Twining, said in a letter to clubs.

To this end the commissioners will waive the August Levy of $1300 for each club. This will be at a cost of $10,400 to the league. The league has already waived the club levies for April, May, June and July. This amounts to a subsidy to the senior clubs of $52,000 by the league.

“It is suggested that this additional saving be put towards paying both the football and netball umpires for games played with no or restricted crowds,” Mr Twining said.

Qualifying games for football has been reduced from three to two for this season. Clubs will note that players have a ‘Q’ after their name when they have played three or more games. Clubs with players who have played only two games must forward the name of the player to the league for verification.

Qualifying quarters for have already been reduced from 24 to 12 and the requirement for 12 quarters will remain.

“The commissioners are aware that there will be inequities in the draw, who will play who how many times and the financial burdens on clubs,” Mr Twining said.

“The commissioners appreciate the frustration caused by COVID lockdowns and the extra stress caused by the uncertainty for the remainder of the season.

“The plan is designed to get us back playing again considering player welfare, club finances and player qualifications with a clear plan forward that will see a conclusion to our season with premiers.”