By Russell Bennett
One of the biggest fixturing questions in community sport appears one step closer to being answered with Cricket Victoria and AFL Victoria releasing a joint statement.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on both sports at all levels, and the community level – where the two sports share so many venues – has been massively affected.
Effectively, it’s been agreed that – should a season get underway – football will have priority access to fixtures at venues no later than Sunday, 27 September for home and away games for seniors and juniors; no later than 11 October for ‘lightning premierships’ and finals for juniors; and no later than Sunday, 18 October for senior finals fixtures.
Cricket will have “priority use access” to fixture competitions no earlier than Saturday 10 October for Victorian Premier first and second XI men’s and women’s matches; Friday, 16 October for junior competitions; and Friday, 23 October for all other senior competitions.
Importantly, where community footy seasons don’t commence – or have been completed by the end of September – Cricket associations will have priority to schedule matches from 1 October.
No football games will be fixtured on any of the 21 Victorian Premier Cricket grounds after 1 October.
The joint statement, released late this afternoon, reads: “Most combined football and cricket grounds across the state will have a 3-4 week break between football matches finishing and cricket matches starting to adequately prepare the wickets and hand over the facility between local clubs.
“The agreement comes following consultation with the Victorian Government and key football and cricket stakeholders, including local municipalities across the state, who help to ensure football and cricket grounds are available.”