Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) has seen clubs able to return to training for the first time since March.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw all football activities suspended more than two months ago. While the playing of matches is not likely going to be possible until July, clubs and teams have been given the all clear to return to the training pitch.
NNSWF released its Return to Training Guidelines that will underpin the return to training last week, with these guidelines developed over time in conjunction with working groups from each facet of the game.
David Eland CEO Northern NSW Football said the guidelines had been distributed to all clubs and each club was now working with their local Zones and Councils to resume training when they are able.
“We understand that not all Clubs will return to training at the same time. There will be a staggered affect throughout the region due to individual Council requirements and communication with players and participants. However, we hope to see the vast majority back to training by early to mid June,” Eland said.
Since the start of the suspension of football in March, NNSWF’s priority has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the community and to undertake its social responsibility to do everything it can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Given that football is played outdoors the risk of infection is minimal and with the rate of infection greatly reduced, it is time to cautiously reintroduce football related activity in a staged approach, said Eland.
For the return to training from today, clubs and players will need to strictly adhere to the NSW Public Health Order. NNSWF has developed its ‘Return to Training – Level 1 Portal’ to assist clubs in doing so.
The guidelines recommend training to be conducted in small groups of no more than 10 players and personnel, social distancing of 1.5 metres between players, non-contact skill training drills, minimal sharing of sporting equipment and no contact including tackling.
NNSWF CEO David Eland is ecstatic to get kids and players back on the pitch however said the responsibility is with players and clubs to continue good hygiene and practice social distancing in the hope we may return to playing in early July.
“Football Federation Australia have authorised Member Federations to determine when the suspension of football is lifted in their respective jurisdictions,” Eland said.
“NNSWF will commit to resuming football as soon as possible but only once it has been approved by relevant government authorities.”
To further aid the ﬁght against COVID-19, NNSWF supports the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app and strongly encourages all members of the football community to get behind this initiative. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App store and Google Play.
Clubs and teams are encouraged to post any pics of them training while socially distancing (ensuring they are abiding by keeping 1.5m distance and maximum 10 in a group including the coach) to social media to show other clubs how it can be done: #backattraining @nnswf @huntervalleyfootball @newcastlefootballofficial @Macquarie Football @newcastlepermanent