This afternoon, the AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League Board of Directors wrote to all clubs to inform them that the unpalatable decision has been made to abandon the 2021 finals series.
From the letter distributed to all clubs.
I am writing to everyone again to continue my openness and transparency from within the Board room and convey some of the decisions and associated rationale.
You should all know nothing is considered lightly and nor without lengthy periods of consideration and consultancy where appropriate.
We all find ourselves anchored and locked in uncharted waters, and not only are they uncharted waters but with an environment congealed with ongoing uncertainty and with what seems constant directional change from those who govern us above.
The Board understand this drives frustration, and we equally understand that we all crave clarity to enable us to plan and execute outcomes within community sport.
Despite what any other league may be communicating, for which they are rightfully entitled to do, our Board sees many significant challenges to deliver an abridged finals competition.
- The current lockdown has been extended by the Andrews government, eradicating at least a further two weeks of ability to return to play, inclusive of time to prepare and train.
- We understand the Andrews government has indicated and prompted some lifting of restrictions, but this is to be balanced against historic policy implemented after lockdown periods, stated vaccination criteria, and rising active cases in the Victorian community.
- There is even some public suggestion leaked or otherwise, that should restrictions lift in regional Victoria, they will not include the return to play of community sport.
- As I write this note, our league has not played competitive sport for 9 weeks. We can add an additional 2 weeks from what I have mentioned above, let alone AFL Vic recommendation that a 14 day preparation for play should also apply. At what point do we all have an OH&S responsibility but to comply?
- Player engagement is becoming tricky, and we still do not have a pathway for many players who reside in Melbourne or work interstate the return home and play
- Of course, on top of that we should also consider the workforce, volunteers, and umpires behind the scenes. Nothing in that space just happens without planning and effort.
- Fairness and Equity of all matters in this space has been at the forefront of your Boards mind and throughout our decision-making processes we have been extremely cognizant of this within our final’s series and Brand. How do we balance one scenario against another or one club’s ability to advance against any other participant?
There were several other major decisions decided by the Board, which have become a ramification of making this decision.
- The league will award a minor Premiership Cup to all teams who finished on top the league ladder after round 11 of the home and away competition. Ironically round 11 also signified the point in our season where every club had played each other once and every club had endured a season bye.
- NO premiership flag nor premiership medals will be awarded.
- In our junior competitions we have undefeated teams in under 15 & 17 Netball and under 18 Football and would like to recognize this outstanding achievement by having a minor premier and undefeated medal created for distribution to clubs. As a suggestion these could be handed out at club Presentation and Award nights assuming lockdown restrictions are lifted, and this can occur. A Board member is committed to attending to assist.
- From a respect and transparency perspective, all club Presidents who had a participating team in top position as at round 11 will contacted directly to advise this decision prior to any advice to our member clubs and prior to any public announcement
- League Best and Fairest awards will be delivered and formalized for season 2021.
- The Board intends to pre tape and produce a B & F award ceremony which will be available for download and viewing on AFL Grand Final eve. This will be a succinct version with other league highlights and interviews. Further details will be advised indue course regarding the time of release and access pathways etc.
In conclusion, I trust we all understand most of season 2021 has been a tricky space to navigate and anyone involved in community sport would have been challenged one way or another.
The challenges of getting the gang back together have been immense, the drain on volunteers has been like no other and the support of sponsors at every level has been inspiring and I thank you all.
If there is anything positive to come from this news is that your Board has spoken about, what can we do in 2022 that is different and engaging, what can we do to rebuild the value in community sport.
We now have some extra thinking time to ponder the ideas we already have in the suggestion box.
So, whilst 2021 did not conclude as we all envisaged, I look forward to season 2022 with renewed enthusiasm.
I have great belief in the extended family of the NGFNL and I know that our brand will remain strong in pursuit of a collective passion for community sport.