Football NSW Chief Executive Officer Stuart Hodge has addressed key topics on the association’s radar in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the CDSFA Community Football Podcast, Hodge is keen for the league to restart as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“I certainly think the government have to take in a lot of factors as we’ve seen with the pandemic – anything can change one day to the next,” he said.
“It was a positive step forward that they’ve got the national principles and the government and NSW will now review those and look at guidelines.
“They’ll have to balance that up with other information that they have and state-specific information here in NSW.
“We’re hopeful given that from some of the surveys which we’ve seen that most people are keen to get out and play again.
“The physical, mental and social benefits are well documented, but we have to make sure we do it under the right conditions and that is when the government says it’s okay.”
The flow on effect of the competition’s postponement will be how clubs juggle summer sports with councils if they clash later down the line, something Hodge is aware of.
“It’s a challenge for all of them and we’re in discussions with some summer sports to try and get some principles in place that if we get football resumed, we’ll have some additional time beyond what we normally get,” he said.
“From some associations, the feedback is from councils have been very sympathetic.
“We’ve collectively lost a couple months of the season already so the opportunity to play a little bit later into the year would be welcomed.
“We’re also conscious that we want to try and keep things on track for next year when hopefully we return on time.
“It’s a balance because we appreciate that there’s also participants that are involved in multiple sports so we’re wanting to help them out and not over-burden them.
“Councils also need to turn fields around although I noticed some of them looking magnificent at the moment.
“We’ve had some very big discussions and hopefully it’s just a fair and reasonable approach which is all we’re asking for.”
One of the main issues across all sports due to postponements has been the topic of refunds, with games in professional sport being played behind closed doors.
While there’s still the unknown about when fans can return to grounds in 2020 and beyond, Hodge has clarified how Football NSW will look to navigate through this tricky time.
“I think in the interim if people are facing financial hardship then of course they should be in touch with their club to get a refund,” Hodge said.
“If the season gets underway then we’ll have to redo our modelling and look at what the fee structures are.
“I hope we do get back on the field and we can go down that path – if the season doesn’t get played then everyone will have to sit and remodel what the costs are and things like that.”
Since this podcast was published on 5th May, Football NSW have moved a step closer to resuming training at the very least with the NSW Government confirming an easing of restrictions – taking affect from Friday 15th May including:
- outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
- cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
- up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
- weddings up to 10 guests
- indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
- religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshipers
- use of outdoor equipment with caution
- outdoor pools open with restrictions.
In a recent press release, it’s mentioned the Office of Sport is working closely with government agencies about how sporting organisations can safely return to action.