It’s true, the suspension of all football activities due to the Public Health Order, means we won’t be back on the pitch until at least 30 June.

But the wheels are still turning and we (NNSWF) continue to work with our seven (7) Member Zones, Football Federation Australia, clubs and the appropriate government authorities on how we can get start playing again in 2020.

In the meantime, we’ll provide updates and some helpful materials for clubs to use. If you have any specific queries surrounding this difficult time contact your local Member Zone or reception@northernnswfootball.com.au and your enquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate department. 




>FFA Circular Game Plan for Resuming Grassroots Football in Australia
20-10 FFA Circular – Game plan for resuming grassroots football in Australia PDF

>Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions – SUSPENSION OF FOOTBALL 17042020 PDF

>Venue Hire Tips for Clubs
Frequently Asked Questions for Clubs – Venue_Council Liaison 20032020 PDF

>Cancelled Events
COVID-19 Event Status 19052020 PDF




4.00pm 13 May 2020 – CEO UPDATE – Game Plan for Resuming Grassroots Football in Australia

As many of you will have heard this week, the New South Wales Premier announced some social-distancing restrictions will be eased from Friday, 15 May 2020.

We appreciate this has, and will, continue to raise questions and expectations in relation to the long-awaited resumption of Football.

In response to the Premier’s announcement, the NSW Office of Sport is finalising an overarching framework which will guide the resumption of community sport throughout NSW. State Sporting Organisations have been informed that the framework will be distributed to sports when the current Public Health Order (PHO) is lifted.

NNSWF has been preparing for the lifting of the PHO and the resumption of community sport by drafting football specific guidelines which will clearly outline how clubs in the first instance, resume training. The Return to Training Guidelines need to be assessed against the Office of Sport Framework in the first instance to ensure that Football is compliant.

The anticipated lifting of the PHO in NSW and similar action in other States and territories prompted FFA to transition the authority to lift the suspension of all football activity to the Member Federations. The FFA Circular is available here.

NNSWF is committed to lifting the suspension and allowing clubs to return to training as soon as possible. Before this can occur the guidelines need to be approved by the relevant government authority and the Board of Directors needs to have every confidence that Management has taken reasonable steps to ensure that zones, clubs, coaches, players and parents are aware of the guidelines and have the capacity to comply. NNSWF has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of participants and the broader community. Rushing the resumption of training without adequate consideration and education may impede the resumption of competitive football in the coming months.

It is important that clubs note that all football activity remains suspended until further notice. Clubs are also reminded that some Local Government Authorities (LGA’s) and Crown Lands closed local sporting facilities in response to the pandemic. If this is the case in your area, please liaise with your Member Zone to ensure fields have been reopened in readiness for the lifting of the current suspension.

Please remain patient, we assure you we will update you as soon as we have any further information.

6.00pm 4 May 2020 – NORTHERN NSW FOOTBALL and its seven Member Zones continue plans to recommence community football

Northern NSW Football, its seven (7) member Zones and Clubs are continuing to work together to plan the resumption of community football, positioning the sport to commence after the Federal and State Government health authorities deem it safe.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the National Cabinet had agreed to principles in relation to sport, Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said Northern NSW Football & Football NSW are collaborating to develop a set of guidelines that will support the commencement of community football as soon as possible across the state.

“Northern NSW Football and Football NSW have already commenced working together with our Member Zones and Club delegates to develop state-wide guidelines and recommendations to assist guide clubs and participants to get back on the park.

“This is certainly a step forward for community football, we’re all looking forward to the day football may resume,” said Eland.

Northern NSW Football has continuously monitored developments and has been in constant contact with FFA and Governments to ensure that we will only return to the field when it is deemed safe to do so.

“We recognise that participants in Northern NSW Football administered competitions and those implemented by our seven (7) Member Zones are eager to know that football will be ready to recommence and that will happen once health authorities give the go ahead.

“Playing football will provide significant social and mental health benefits to our participants and we will be ready to go at the earliest possible opportunity.

Northern NSW will continue to monitor any changes made by the NSW Government in relation to the NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 which is currently preventing sport from being conducted and expires at midnight on 29 June 2020.

Eland said Northern NSW Football, its Zones and Clubs had also engaged with local Councils, summer sporting organisations and other users of venues to discuss an extension of time for football to use facilities.

“Football, like other winter sports, uses multi-use venues, impacting 70,000 football players across northern NSW alone.

Many Councils have been sympathetic to the impact and we are working closely with our Zones and other sports in relation to moving the transition date from Winter to Summer sports back, to be fair for all sports.”

Whilst the exact date of return to play relies on the lifting of Government restrictions, Northern NSW, its Zones and Clubs are working on a series of scenarios and competition formats that is focused on providing as much football opportunities as possible in the time frame that the sport will have at its disposal.

Eland thanks the broader football community and its many players, families, officials, administrators, sponsors and volunteers.

“What has been particularly pleasing is how everyone has worked together and supported our actions and recommendations to address this pandemic.

“I am confident football will come out the other end of this  more united.”

Northern NSW Football supports the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app as part of their plan to slow the spread of COVID-19. The app, launched by the Federal Government, will help state and territory health officials to quickly alert people who may be at risk of having contact with the virus.

In order to help the grassroots football community, stay active and connected throughout the temporary suspension period, FFA recently launched an online Skills Hub, developed in association with each of Australia’s nine Member Federations.

To access the Skills Hub and get involved with the #PlayAtHomeChallenge, please visit www.playfootball.com.au/skills-hub

6.00pm 1 May 2020 – FFA Media Release: FFA supports the release of the National Principles for Sport and Recreation

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today welcomed the release of the National Principles for Sport and Recreation by the Federal Government and the National Cabinet.

Following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced 15 principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities. FFA Chief Executive James Johnson said these will now be used in conjunction with FFA’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Football in determining a date for the possible resumption of football.

“FFA welcomes the release today of the National Principles for Sport, and thanks the Prime Minister and the National Cabinet for clearly laying out the pathway to a return for both professional and grassroots sport,” he said.

“We will, in conjunction with our own Guidelines, use the Principles and ‘The AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment’ to guide our ongoing plans for the return of the Hyundai A-League and community football.

“We continue to work collaboratively with the Hyundai A-League Clubs and Member Federations, and remain focused on being a key partner for Federal and State and Territory governments as we determine how and when football will resume, taking into account the restrictions in place in each jurisdiction.

“The health and wellbeing of all players, officials, staff and volunteers is of primary importance, and we will continue to encourage every member of the Australian football family to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions at all times.”

The Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment, which contains the 15 National Principles for Sport and Recreation, is available here.

FFA is proud to work with the Australian Government, and encourages all football participants to download and use the COVIDSafe app, which is available from the App store or Google Play.

Northern NSW Football will continue working with Football NSW, our Member Zones and Club delegates to develop
state-wide guidelines and recommendations to assist guide clubs and participants to get back on the park.

Be assured this is fantastic news, and we hope to be able to work to a specific date football may resume.



9.00am 29 April 2020 – FFA confirms support for COVIDSafe app and prepares Guidelines for the resumption of football

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today confirmed its full support for the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app, and announced it has produced Guidelines in readiness for a return to community football.

The app has been launched by the Government as part of its plan to slow the spread of COVID-19, and it will help state and territory health officials to quickly alert people who may be at risk of having contact with the virus.

FFA Chief Executive James Johnson said the Australian football community had really come together during the COVID-19 pandemic, adhering to social distancing and travel restrictions, and he urged it to get behind the government’s latest initiative.

“The COVIDSafe app is an important step in the Government’s plans to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and downloading the app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians,” he said.

“The health and wellbeing of all 2 million football participants in this country is of paramount importance to us, we firmly believe in the importance of this community health message, and you can play a major role in this initiative.

“The sooner we can stop the spread of COVID-19, the sooner restrictions will be lifted, so we can get football back up and running across Australia.

“FFA continues to liaise with governments and medical experts to pave the way for the return of community football. We have produced a set of Guidelines, including protocols and measures to be put in place to ensure a safe and responsible resumption of the game.

“The Guidelines are being reviewed by senior health officials and will be used by our nine Member Federations to guide a return to football, taking into account the relevant regulations and health advice in each state and territory.

“Community football is currently suspended until at least 31 May, and we will be providing a further update in due course.”

FFA is proud to work with the Australian Government, and will promote the use of the COVIDSafe app through its social channels.

The COVIDSafe app is available to download via the Apple App store or Google Play.

7.00pm 17 April 2020

We write on behalf of Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) to provide the football community with an update following the announcement by Football Federation Australia (FFA) on 1 April that all football activity remains suspended at least until 31 May.

NNSWF and the seven Member Zones continue our scenario planning for the deferred season subject to the status of the current NSW Public Health Order. The suspension of all football activities must therefore continue until at least 30 June, unless the order is lifted earlier. In response, competition administrators are working towards getting on the pitch from early July. NNSWF will continue to strictly follow Government advice and only allow participants to get back on the pitch when it is deemed safe to do so.

Regardless of when we get on the pitch Football is going to be different this season. We are all going to need to be patient, flexible, considerate and cooperative. It’s clear based on the COVID – 19 Guidelines for Football released by FFA prior to the initial suspension that we’ll need to modify the way we schedule, prepare, play, train, referee, coach, socialise and celebrate to ensure we comply and keep our vast football family safe and healthy. NNSWF has asked Local Government Authorities on behalf of our 230 member clubs to extend football’s use of facilities to the end of October in 2020 and waive venue hire fees. Electricity suppliers have also been asked to consider providing clubs with discounts.

Unfortunately it’s far from business as usual at NNSWF. The pandemic and subsequent suspension of all football activities have had a huge impact on our operations including the closure of the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility and First Touch Football Supplies. In recent weeks the Board of Directors has overseen a budget review which slashed $5.3 million worth of expenditure from our $10 million budget for 2020. Regrettably, 60% of our current full-time staff have been stood down and a number of vacant positions haven’t been filled. The Board’s determined to protect the game’s reserves to ensure when the suspension is lifted that we have the overall capacity to assist Zones and clubs to deliver the best possible football experience and restore social cohesion.

NNSWF and Football NSW are in regular contact with the Acting Minister for Sport and the Office for Sport advocating for Football throughout NSW. NNSWF along with other State Sporting Organisations have urged the Minister for Sport to formally confirm that the proceeds of the Active Kids Vouchers ($2.7m currently held substantially in club accounts across the seven zones in NNSWF) are retained and shared throughout the game in the event that the season doesn’t get underway in 2020. It is again important to highlight that AKV’s cannot be refunded in cash or in any other form and given to parents or players. If the NSW Government approves the retention of the AKV’s, it will be on the condition that the funds are retained to assist the immediate administration costs incurred from club level to FFA.

This gesture would certainly assist NNSWF to absorb the significant costs already incurred in 2020 and to consider refunding the member federation levy if the season doesn’t proceed. NNSWF and the Member Zones have been working on and agreed upon a split of the AKV proceeds which aims to keep the “light on” at every level of the game from clubs through to FFA.

Regretfully, the pandemic and subsequent suspension have forced NNSWF to either cancel or suspend a significant number of scheduled events. Click here to keep up to date with what activities have been impacted.

It’s not the same, but every echelon of the game including FFA, Member Federations, A-League Clubs, Zones and clubs are doing their best to keep the vast football community engaged and active throughout this challenging time. Click here for the FFA’s #PlayAtHome Challenge. Watch out for a series of online Newcastle Permanent Masterclasses hosted by some outstanding guest coaches and specialists. NNSWF has also released a four-week MiniRoos at Home program developed by Coach Education Coordinator, Jarrad Denham.

NNSWF is committed to keeping stakeholders as informed as we can during these unpredictable times. We’ll provide a further update in May, or sooner if pertinent information comes to hand.

Thank you to the thousands of volunteers who are keeping their clubs operating and responding to enquiries from their members and communities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to NNSWF or your respective Member Zones if you need assistance.

NNSWF greatly appreciates your ongoing patience and wish you and your families the very best of health.

Yours in Football,

Helene O’Neill – Chairperson, Northern NSW Football
David Eland – CEO, Northern NSW Football

6.00pm 3 April 2020 – Letter from CEO David Eland Surrounding Operational Restructure in Response to COVID-19

Dear Members,

At a time of year when volunteers, players, coaches and match officials across our seven Member Zones and Premier Competitions would normally be enjoying their football, we are all instead, faced with one of the most challenging situations our game has experienced.

It is with apprehension and sadness that like many other businesses and organisations Northern NSW Football has made the difficult decision to implement significant, yet temporary changes to its organisational structure in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of football.

This restructure will affect all Northern NSW Football staff and regretfully, includes the standing down of 60% of our employees for at least the next two months.

It is of course, distressing for all of the hard-working staff at Northern NSW Football to be informed of the decision. The team has worked tirelessly throughout the suspension to date, the level of collaboration and productivity in extremely difficult circumstances has been outstanding. I am so proud to lead this team of dedicated professionals.

Please know this is not an action we take lightly. It’s necessary to ensure we have the capacity to hit the ground running when we get back on the pitch. You can be assured that we’ll be ready to partner you in your efforts to rebuild communities and social cohesion.

As challenging as this situation is, I am uplifted by the support the football community has shown to each other. It is important that we continue to look out for each other during these difficult times and pull together.

I wish you and those close to you well, please stay safe and healthy and I encourage you to continue to prepare for the season, in whatever format that may be.

Our team will continue to work with all stakeholders to navigate through and bounce back from this challenge.

David Eland
Northern NSW Football

7:00pm 1 April 2020 – Suspension of Football Extended to 31 May 2020. 

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today advised that, in light of ongoing developments since its original announcement, including stricter measures imposed by the Federal Government in response to COVID-19, the temporary suspension to sanctioned grassroots football competitions and associated training would remain in place until at least 31 May 2020.

The decision is another in a series of measures taken by FFA in response to COVID-19 in consultation with its State and Territory Member Federations and the National COVID-19 Working Committee.

FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said: “Since our initial announcement, there have been numerous declarations made by, and introduced, across all levels of Government. The measures have continuously tightened restrictions around community gatherings, and the measures announced by the Prime Minister recently increased these restrictions further. While we were not due to make a formal assessment until 14 April 2020, we felt it best to consider our position now in light of this most recent announcement.

“We have determined, with the full backing of all Member Federations, that the temporary suspension to sanctioned grassroots football competitions and associated training will remain in place until at least 31 May 2020. We will continue to stay in close communications
with our Member Federations in the lead up to 31 May 2020, to ensure that the individual circumstances of each state and territory in relation to the status of COVID-19 and the measures or restrictions imposed by individual State/Territory Governments are being

“These are unprecedented times and at this moment, it is very difficult to predict what further measures will be introduced, or for how much longer current measures will be in place. As we have done with all our decisions to date, we will remain agile and responsive to the
prevailing circumstances and still remain optimistic that our Member Federations, which are already considering what adjusted competitions will look like, will be able to complete the grassroots season this year.

“Any decision to resume grassroots football will be made in line with the Federal Government, taking into account the latest health advice at the time to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the football and wider community, and in full consultation with our Member Federations and the National COVID-19 Working Committee. The safety of the football community remains our priority.

“We recognise that our participants across the country are eager to understand what all of this means for them so we hope that the announcement today can give them some piece of mind and we ask that they remain positive during these difficult times. As a sport, we
must continue to undertake our civic duty as a responsible citizen and do everything we can to contribute to the national efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Football people are resilient, have a strong moral compass and, consequently, I am sure our community will
understand this position. FFA will continue to communicate material updates in the lead up to 31 May 2020.

In order to help the grassroots football community stay active and connected throughout the temporary suspension period, FFA and its Member Federations have developed the Skills Hub – allowing players to practice skills and to get involved with the #PlayAtHomeChallenge, more info visit: www.playfootball.com.au/skills-hub

3.00pm 23 March 2020

To assist answer some of the questions coming from Clubs and Players, we’ve developed some Frequently Asked Questions which can be viewed here.

Northern NSW Football is continuing to work with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to develop some online materials and activities we can all participate in during the hiatus. Keep updated by following us on Facebook or keep checking here for more information.

5.00pm 17 March 2020

Football throughout Northern NSW will be suspended from midnight tonight (17 March 2020) until 14 April 2020.

FFA today convened a meeting of the National COVID-19 Working Committee and the Presidents of the State Body Members to further discuss football’s response to COVID-19. After careful consideration and having regard to the feedback received from the grassroots community, FFA advised that effective from 12:00am on 18 March 2020, all sanctioned grassroots football activity in Australia will be suspended until 14 April 2020.  Media Release available here.

This suspension includes, however is not limited to: playing, training, grading, match official and coach development, at all levels of grassroots football across the Northern NSW Football footprint.

It is important to note that the season has not been cancelled.

Please note NNSWF met with its seven (7) Member Zones surrounding the suspension and each Member Zone is committed to and considering the impacts this recent decision has on the season and is focusing on maximising participation in the event the seasons may be disrupted.

We encourage all Clubs to continue receiving and activating player registrations and providing Member Zones the information required for them to construct competitions and MiniRoos fixtures for when the season continues.

NNSWF is committed to providing its Members, participants and stakeholders with updates as new information becomes available.

Please don’t contact NNSWF and the Member Zones in relation to updates., all available information will be made available on www.northernnswfootball.com.au or will be advised in due course.

1.00pm Tuesday 17 March 2020 


Football Federation Australia (FFA) today advised that it is actively reassessing its position regarding the continuation of all sanctioned grassroots football activities at this time, including competitions, matches and training.

Consistent with Australian Government requirements, FFA had earlier this week released guidelines that organised grassroots football competitions may continue but with additional measures designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the football community.

Since it released its guidelines, FFA has been in constant communication with its community and is continuously receiving a variety of feedback from its grassroots, including competition administrators, and across the game more broadly.

FFA is currently working together with representatives from each of its nine State and Territory Member Federations and other relevant stakeholders, within the framework of its guidelines, to ensure that it is responsive to what is a dynamic and continuously-evolving issue and that the health and wellbeing of both the football and wider community remains the highest priority.

FFA will communicate a further update later today, Northern NSW Football will share with its Members when it is released.

1:30pm Monday 16 March 2020

Amid the ever-evolving information surrounding the COVID-19, Northern NSW Football advises it is continuing to work with and heeding the advice of Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Federal Health Authorities to continue to navigate decisions surrounding the 2020 Season.

At this point in time, Football will ‘Play On’ with some guidelines in place by Football Federation Australia to assist you in preparing for your current season and/or upcoming season please see the complete media statement here

A summary of precautions is listed below:

  1. Senior training sessions and fixtures should only be attended by players, team officials, match officials and volunteers who are essential to the conduct of the activity;
  2. Junior training sessions and fixtures should only be attended by players accompanied by one parent, team officials, match officials and volunteers who are essential to the conduct of the activity;
  3. Parents attending junior football should exercise social distancing and spread out around the pitch i.e. not congregate in close proximity wither side of half-way when watching fixtures;
  4. Players should refrain from any interaction including post goal celebrations which include close contact. A fist pump is adequate in the current circumstances
  5. Players, team officials and match officials should refrain from shaking hands and/or embracing before and after matches
  6. Team huddles should be avoided, and
  7. Team meetings in enclosed change rooms should be kept to a minimum.

Please read the following Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Please see here for information specific to Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.

Further information will be released as it comes to hand, clubs can access resources from Club Headquarters which will be updated periodically. Please continue to visit www.northernnswfootball.com.au to remain up-to-date.