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    Jason Muldoon.

Wimmera football, netball join queue to cancellation

Communities from east of the Grampians to the Mallee and South Australian border will have to wait until next year to get their dose of open-aged football and netball.

An inability to safely open the gates to crowds has prompted the region’s flagship Wimmera Football League and Wimmera Netball Association to join a succession of competitions abandoning 2020 senior seasons.

The leagues will instead turn their focus to junior football and netball and attempt to develop a structure that would allow young players to participate in some form of competition this year.

League and club officials made the decision at a meeting on Monday, following a similar move made by Horsham District Football Netball League, which runs parallel to the Wimmera competition.

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AFL Wimmera Mallee area manager Jason Muldoon said the decision was difficult but necessary and gave clarity to all stakeholders.

“Clubs were supportive of a united approach to the outcome of the 2020 senior football and netball premiership season,” he said.

Mr Muldoon said Wimmera football and netball officials from the competition’s nine clubs believed that while it was necessary to cancel senior competition, junior players should have the opportunity to play safely in some capacity with support from their clubs.

“This decision has been made after several meetings with all Wimmera football and netball clubs and gathering feedback from key stakeholders,” he said.

“This decision allows all clubs the opportunity to focus on the 2021 season and return full of energy and with a renewed passion for football and netball.  

“The major concerns expressed by all was the inability to have crowds attend the scheduled games. 

“In light of the announcements by the State Government to reinstate some restrictions, both the WFL and WNA could not see crowds returning to their venues in the allocated time frame. 

“The burden placed on volunteers, the inability to effectively manage crowds to comply with the State Government restrictions, health concerns with COVID-19 and varying financial implications were also major factors in the decision.”

Mr Muldoon said a safe and healthy environment for all members and volunteers moving forward to 2021, ensuring the sustainability of the competitions and the nine collective clubs, was Wimmera Football League and Wimmera Netball Association’s goal.

He said both competitions would now continue to work closely and collaboratively with AFL Victoria, Netball Victoria and all clubs to manage the associated issues stemming from the cancellation of the senior competition.

Meanwhile, Mininera and District Football League officials will meet tonight to decide on its 2020 season.

Officials have also cancelled North Central and Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara seasons.

The entire June 24, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire June 24, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!