By David Nagel
The West Gippsland Football Netball Competition (WGFNC) will return to play on Saturday, 14 August as a result of a vote taken of all clubs today.
Clubs were presented with two options by administrators of the WGFNC; to resume play this Saturday, 31 July or to return to play two weeks later.
The clubs voted to delay the resumption of both football and netball – across all age groups and grades – to the 14 August option.
The majority decision was made despite restrictions easing sufficiently enough to allow training and competitive sport to resume today, Wednesday, 28 July.
The main sticking point for clubs was that crowds would not be allowed to attend Saturday’s round of matches, and again at the following round on Saturday, 7 August.
This limited their ability to raise funds through gate, bar and canteen takings.
Clubs were also concerned that health and safety requirements – related to Covid-19 – would put additional pressure on volunteers to maintain those stringent safety standards.
WGFNC Leagues Operations Manager Brandon Milburn said it was important that clubs had a say in how the league would safely return to sport.
“The decision on when to return to play was given to the clubs to vote on, our role is to administer the decision determined by the majority,” Milburn said.
“The clubs are best placed to understand the impacts the state government-imposed restrictions have on their club and members and therefore it’s crucial they have the opportunity to have a say in the decision making process.”
Milburn confirmed that there will be one more round of home and away matches, on Saturday, 14 August, before the finals series begins a week later.
The composition of the final round of home and away matches will be finalised once the league has considered the balance of home and away games already played by all clubs.