As we enter the winter months the void in our lives accentuated by the lack of football in 2020 is being acutely felt right across community. Whilst the resumption of the AFL on the 11th June will provide some much needed respite, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the commencement of the VAFA season.
A nine game season has been canvassed by VAFA HQ and they are working through a number of scenarios that would allow a season to get under way, including pushing the season into October. Whilst it was noted earlier today that both the Northern Football League and Eastern Football League have made a joint decision to cancel both their senior men's and women's competitions, the Club believes the VAFA is more uniquely positioned than other Metropolitan and Country Leagues; with less of a reliance upon gate-takings and players not receiving match payments.
With this in mind, the Club is working closely with the VAFA, the University of Melbourne, the Melbourne City Council and the MUFC to ensure that we have the best chance of a safe return to football as soon as possible. The Club is committed to giving ourselves every opportunity to play and compete should be get a season underway.
To that extent, whilst we do not have clear Return to Play (RTP) guidance to date, the Club has decided to recommence group training under the approved Return to Train (RTT) protocols, and begun restricted training last night in staggered groups of 20. It would have been impossible to wipe the smiles off the faces of the players and coaches, as it was clear just how much of an important role football plays in our lives.
The Club feels that a continued return to training will be a significant on-going morale boost for the players and provide them with a welcome relief after the restrictions of recent months. The Committee, Football Department and the players are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment to enjoy training whilst the decision to train at an individual remains completely optional.
The Football Department and playing group met over Zoom on the 28th May to review the new protocols and ensure that we are in a position to hold group training in a safe and productive manner. As a result, we have appointed five COVID Safety Officers;
Senior Coach: Dale Bower
Head of Football: Katie Bailey
Head of Coaching: Matt Adolf
Head of Football Operations: Jeremy Hua
Secretary: Zach Harris
The Club's medium to long term future:
The Club is taking an 18 month approach to our immediate decision making over the remainder of 2020. We are running two contingencies based on a limited season commencing in 2020, with the possibility of no crowds and a season cancellation. Our ability to survive and thrive into 2021 under both scenarios is paramount in our thinking and significant effort is being made to ensure the Club's ongoing financial viability.
More than ever we require the support of the Blacks community to help us through this period and we encourage you to consider purchasing a case of the Blackest Blacker or making a tax deductible donation to the Club in the lead up to the end of the financial year.
We would like to sincerely thank the following supporters who have made a donation to the end of May 2020:
Donna & Paul Cousins
Andrew & Joh Else
Dr Peter Huntington
Heather Lacey & David Russell
Dr John Larsen
Stephen Longley & Bridgit Hogan
Professor Michael McGrath
Peter & Sally Steele
Dr Leonard Walker
We will endeavour to bring more information to our supporters and members over the coming weeks, until then we remain positive and committed in our preparation for whatever the outcome may be. Carn' the Blacks!!