Final siren sounds for sports season hopes

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THE 2020 MPNFL season has been cancelled.

AFL South East announced the decision to call off their competitions on 27 June. All senior football and netball divisions will not go ahead this year.

There were hopes that the league would be able to get up and running next month, with a plan to return already outlined. AFL South East had announced that they planned for the season to get underway by 25 July, with a shortened fixture and a zero salary cap. 

After a further meeting between AFL South East officials and MPNFL club representatives last weekend, plans to start the season were scrapped.

The Times understands that only five clubs in each division had indicated that they were definitely on board to play out the season.

AFL South East Chief Operations Officer Shaun Connell said “whilst we are disappointed to cancel the 2020 MPNFL season, the health and wellbeing of the community and the sustainability of our clubs has always been our priority.”

“We took a positive approach to return to the playing field but, with growing concern around the management of clubs during COVID and the growing uncertainty within the community, it was agreed that traditional MPNFL home and away season was not viable for 2020. Once it became clear that the long term sustainability of clubs was at risk, the decision was clear cut and needed to be made in a timely fashion,” he said.

“COVID-19 has presented a very unique set of circumstances and we needed to ensure that all 22 clubs, and AFL South East as an organisation, emerged from this pandemic in a healthy state. We look forward to working with our clubs to create a safe and healthy environment for all members and volunteers moving forward.”

AFL South East will draw up plans for an opt-in informal competition later this year if restrictions allow for it.

First published in the Frankston Times – 29 June 2020

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