Perth Football League aims for July start
General Manager of the Perth Football League David Armstrong says an amateur football season is still very much possible, with the competition hopeful of a July restart in line with current government guidelines.
Armstrong told Sports Drive on Wednesday that the initial date of June 13th appeared unlikely, but things were looking up further down the track.
“I guess a key part of this is the government’s COVID-19 roadmap,” Armstrong said.
“That certainly enlightened everyone on the plan and what we are working towards now, we know that can change, everyone in the community knows this is pretty quick moving. It does give us a plan and part of the phase three of the roadmap it shows that contact sports can commence in mid-June,”
“That would give us 4-5 weeks for a mid-July start of nine rounds of the home and away season, a shortened finals series and we would be finished up before the September long weekend.”
The finals series will likely see a top four as opposed to a top five, with two weeks of finals rather than the usual four.
Armstrong said the league had offered it’s assistance to clubs in financial difficulty.
“The league is in a pretty sustainable position, there’s a lot of costs associated with playing community football such as ground hire and insurance, umpire coaching, finals. We’ll support clubs this year.” He said.
“There’s still some things we need to get ticked off, we are certainly assisting some clubs with some cash flow and some interest free loans if required. They have some important bills to pay. This is why the league is in a good financial position through sustainability measures.”
The usual transfer deadline of June 30 for players to move clubs could be adjusted, to accommodate a revamped season and the potential for the WAFL reserves competition to temporarily fold this year.
“My understanding is the AFL will look at the June 30th deadline and maybe move it back an extra couple of weeks,” Armstrong said.
“State governments might make announcements in relation to lifting of restrictions. It then gives some sort of certainty to clubs to see if they are going to have teams or not this season.”
Training can resume in groups of 20 from Monday 18th May, with strict protocols in place to limit the chances of COVID-19 being spread via human transmission.
Contact training is likely to commence in June, before the proposed July restart date.
Armstrong said that the enforced lay-off from football could see a spike in numbers in the competition as a result.
“Some clubs say they may not be able to fill teams because of their circumstances and financial situations, and other clubs have said they have people busting the door down to play footy,” Armstrong said.
“We may have players from WAFL reserves, players from the country who are keen to play. We just don’t know until we start to call for team nominations and teams to drop.”
The amateur competition will celebrate it’s 100th year in 2021, regardless of whether a season is completed in 2020.
IMAGE: Perth Football League website.