Thursday 21st May 2020
Please see below the most current updates regarding AFL Canberra and COVID-19:
We are pleased to announce that Community Football Clubs have been given the green light to return to training in groups up-to 10 persons.
Following the revised NSW Public Health Order which came into effect Friday 15 May, AFL NSW/ACT endorse a return to club sanctioned small group training at community football level in NSW from Thursday May 21, provided Clubs and participants follow the relevant Government guidelines and AFL NSW/ACT’s Return to Small Group Training Protocols are implemented.
Similarly, the ACT Government have approved Australian Rules Football training in groups up-to 10 from May 15, under the provision that ACT Government Guidelines and AFL NSW/ACT’s Return to Small Group Training Protocols are implemented.
The safety and wellbeing of our participants is our number one priority. Returning to small group training in a safe, hygienic and well managed manner is paramount for the AFL.
The AFL Return to Play Framework (Framework) has been informed by the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities and the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a Post COVID-19 Environment. The Framework has been developed in consultation with health professionals and leaders in the football industry.
Local councils are an extremely important stakeholder and must be consulted as part of your return to training preparations and the Office of Local Government FAQ has answers for our clubs regarding local NSW sporting grounds. Participants from the ACT can also reference the ACT Sport & Recreations FAQ document for any ACT Government related questions.
We have prepared a dedicated Return to Play page on the AFL NSW/ACT website which will house all the relevant and most up-to-date documentation in relation to retuning to small group training for both NSW and ACT to ensure all Clubs return to training in a safe and educated manner.
Key information on this page includes:
- Return to Small Group Protocols
- Return to Small Group Training FAQs
- Return to Small Group Training Checklist
- Education Modules
- Resources and Templates to assist Clubs
This page will be updated with information and resources as restrictions ease.
Tuesday 12th May 2020
Dear AFL Community,
AFL NSW/ACT is working closely with the State and Territory Governments to understand the revised Public Health Orders and impacts on community sport.
The Office of Sport and key government agencies, including the Office of Local Government, are currently developing guidelines and principles for sporting organisations to recommence activity. This includes training in groups of up-to 10 people and access to sporting grounds.
The AFL and its State and Territory bodies have created a return to training and play framework, in line with the national Australian Institute of Sport ‘Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activity Framework’.
We are well advanced in our post COVID-19 season planning and will be ready to provide guidance to our network once we receive advice specific to NSW and the ACT from the State, Territory and Local Governments.
We look forward to providing further information to our community stakeholders on the resumption of AFL as soon as possible.
Enthusiasm is certainly building as we start to see restrictions easing, and we thank you for your continued support and leadership during this return to training and play period.
Acting Chief Executive Officer AFL NSW/ACT
Monday 27th April 2020
Return to Play update
To Our Football Community,
Recently we provided an update about the work underway to determine a roadmap for a return to community footy.
Our intention was to provide a more detailed outline at the end of this month, following the release of a roadmap for the elite game.
Whilst we all want clarity around when the game will return to our fields, this area of work is constantly changing. The announcement by the Prime Minister yesterday that the National Cabinet will develop a guiding set of principles for sport at all levels, reinforces the extensive work we have been doing to refine our protocols and processes on how and when our respective seasons will commence.
Federal, State and Territory Governments have also indicated the possibility of easing some restrictions around mid-May, should the current low trend of infection and transmission continue. We understand the National Cabinet will review restrictions at a meeting on May 10, provided the curve is still flattening and testing rates remain high.
As a result of these developments and reviews, the timetable we will now work to has been revised.
In the week beginning May 11, there will be an announcement regarding the elite game with a proposed date for a resumption of training and return to play. An update around timings for a resumption of activities at Community level, will be provided once the roadmap for the elite competition has been announced.
Pleasingly, Governments of all levels across Australia understand the critical role and benefits of community sport, and the importance of local sport restarting and reconnecting those vital support networks that are currently stretched or not operating.
We are focused on being aligned with the advice of the New South Wales and ACT Governments and the relevant medical authorities to ensure everything we do protects the health and safety of our participants and the broader community.
We thank you for your patience, understanding and ongoing efforts as the planning continues to evolve, and we look forward to being able to provide a more definitive update to you following the planned elite game announcement in the second week of May.
Friday 17th April 2020
Return to Play update
To our Valued Football Community,
I hope that you and your family had a safe and happy Easter at home this year, as we all play our part in supporting the Australian community and health system.
Without football on our fields, we have embraced the important role that football can still play in our lives. With the power of social media and technology, we have seen an overwhelming celebration of football on our small screens – from trick kicks, skills and drills, family footy at home and some ingenious training techniques in isolation.
We thank you for playing your part in flattening the curve, and we are optimistic that we will get our game underway at some stage, in some format later this year. Rest assured, the AFL and its State / Territory affiliates have a dedicated team of people working diligently to explore what this might look like for our clubs and communities.
Understandably, we are still uncertain about the exact date of commencement for our game, but we want to provide you with some certainty about the actions and next steps we are taking from a national AFL approach.
– Constantly reviewing the situation and the different levels of advice being provided by State, Territory and Federal Government as well as relevant medical authorities.
– Developing key principles of decision making for a return to football around Government policies and restrictions, guidance for schools, workplaces and medical recommendations.
– Paying close attention to international benchmarks and behaviours, and how other countries are treating their return to sport.
– Working closely with Government, medical advisors and the AFL’s Chief Medical Officer to ensure we have the very latest advice and insight around when we may be able to kick off our game.
– Exploring modified formats in our endeavours to get a season underway in 2020.
– Preparing a series of protocols that will provide guidance for when football does return.
– Constantly engaging with as many of our Leagues and Clubs as possible, to understand your concerns and considerations.
– Importantly, we have not given up on this season. We are hopeful that we will be back on the field as soon as it is safe to do so and you can be confident that you will have our full support to ensure this return is as safe and well prepared as possible.
We are aiming to provide a more detailed update at the end of April, post the announcement of an expected roadmap for the elite game.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this uncertain and unprecedented time and recommend that all Leagues delay any announcement around 2020 season commencement dates or season cancellations until we provide further information at the end of the month.
In the meantime, we ask you continue the fantastic work and to keep footy alive in your households and communities.
Acting Chief Executive Officer – AFL NSW/ACT
Thursday 26th March 2020
Staff Stand Down
The last week has been a difficult one for the AFL Canberra team with the AFL, and by extension AFL NSW/ACT, announcing the temporary stand down of many of its staff from Monday, 30 March 2020 until Sunday, 31 May 2020. As detailed by our acting CEO Tiffany Robertson, these significant actions are needed at this time to ensure the viability of our game at all levels as we manage the impact of COVID-19 on our industry.
We wish to advise that during this period Luke Martin, Game Development Manager – ACT, will be the contact for AFL Canberra Clubs, Schools & Partners. The rest of our AFL Canberra staff are being stood down for the temporary period.
Luke will be working in a reduced capacity (3 days per week) during this time. We will have the support of a small team of AFL NSW/ACT state and national AFL staff in addition; and ask for your patience and understanding during this period as we navigate our reduced work arrangements.
Club Training Requirements
We would again like to reiterate that as a result of the May 31 Community Football postponement for all AFL managed leagues (which includes AFL Canberra), it is the AFL’s position that club training should not be taking place up until this time (unless advised otherwise by the AFL). Clubs should not be arranging for players to come together in small groups to complete AFL training as this is not in line with the AFL’s position and it also goes against the government’s social distancing requirements that are currently in place. In addition, all clubs should be sending the same message to their members to encourage them to follow government advice and play their role in limited the spread of COVID-19. We understand that clubs want to keep their players engaged and training in anticipation for when the season may re-commence, however given the current status of COVID-19, players should only be completing their own individual training in environments that are in line with the government mandated social distancing expectations.
Furthermore, we have recently received advice that clubs are at risk of not being covered for Public Liability Insurance in the case of the virus being spread at club training sessions, while the Personal Accident policy does not cover sickness or illness. We believe this would also apply to clubs arranging for players to come together in small groups for the purposes of social interactions.
We understand this is a really challenging time for all Australians and keeping connected during a time like this is so important, but again making formal arrangements for players to physically come together goes against the AFL’s position of no club events taking place, does not support the government’s expectations in regards to social distancing, and potentially puts your club and its members at risk.
Thursday 19th March 2020
SportsTG and Online Transfers
Online National Transfers have been closed on SportsTG until further notice.
Player registrations and re-registrations are still able to be complete, but club to club player movements cannot.
Wednesday 18th March 2020
Meetings and Events
We will be postponing a number of planned events/meetings. We consider it the appropriate decision to make at this time, until we know a little more regarding the steps forward. Included below is a summary of the most immediate events/meetings, and the status update for each of these. We will remove these from your calendars for the time being – and when suitable, send through updated dates/times, as well as teleconference details (as required), noting some of these may be held sooner – which we will advise in due course!
- Wednesday 18th March: Junior Umpire Information Session – Postponed – New Date TBA
- Monday 23th March: Community Pre Season Meeting – Postponed – will be rescheduled with a teleconference
- Wednesday 25th March: Umpire Season Launch – Postponed – New Date TBA
- Monday 30th March: Senior Pre Season Meeting – Postponed – will be rescheduled with a teleconference
- Wednesday 1st April: Senior and Community Season Launch – Postponed – New Date TBA
- Wednesday 8th April: Junior Pre Season Meeting – Postponed – will be rescheduled with a teleconference
Frequently Asked Questions
The AFL has created an online portal for Frequently Asked Questions regarding this situation, which can be access here: https://play.afl/covid-19/faqs. This portal will be regularly updated with information, so we encourage you to review this when possible, as it will continue to be added to as the situation evolves. Locally, we would like to ask that all clubs who have any initial questions (that cannot be answered via this link) to send these through, in one consolidated email/document from your club.
The questions that come through from clubs, will be consolidated with questions from across the other leagues and competitions for NSW/ACT as well as Nationally, as there will be a number of common questions and themes. Therefore we will not, at this time, respond with answers to these, but instead work with the Community Football Department to address these, consistent with the national direction, and then work toward local solutions, as required/relevant.
We appreciate there are a number unknowns, and plenty of different questions/scenarios specific to each club – so as per the above please consolidate these into a single communication from your club, via email, and we’ll work through them. We’d like to be able to streamline the communication process as best as possible at this time. We acknowledge that your members will have plenty of questions for, just as you do for us – so let’s work collectively to best achieve a smooth process at this time.
Trial Games and Training
All currently scheduled Trial Games are to be postponed/cancelled – as per the communication released yesterday, all Football relevant activities are to be postponed until May 31st, 2020. This includes trial games, match play, club training, school events and Auskick. Updated information will be shared regarding any allowances regarding when available. It is anticipated that club training may be able to commence from mid-May (as per https://play.afl/covid-19/faqs) however please be aware a formal notification will be provided to clubs when a definitive date has been determined for this.
AFL Canberra Staff
All AFL Staff have been advised: if we are not required to work from the office, we are strongly encourage you to work from home. If you are still able to deliver on your role whilst utilising the appropriate technology to stay connected with your team/stakeholders. This considered most of our AFL Canberra Team will not be in the office, regularly, for the foreseeable future, we will however be available via email and phone, as per normal business, unless on leave. Our intent is to minimise the effect this current situation has on our workflow and engagement with our stakeholders.
As you would be aware, we have been working through a number of staffing changes in recent weeks, by way of an update, we have placed a hold on all new hires until further notice, this includes: Regional Manager, Football Operations Manager and the Partnerships and Communications Coordinator. We will provide further information on these openings when we are in a position to do so.