To our Queensland AFL Community,
This week we saw the announcement from the elite game of its planned roadmap to Return to Play. We are now in a position to be able to share more definitive plans in terms of what this means for Community Football in Queensland.
Returning to play in a safe, hygienic, and controlled manner is paramount to the AFL. The safety and well-being of our participants is our number one priority. As such, our Return to Play strategy has been focused on ensuring we have the clear endorsement of State Government and public health officials at every phase of return.
Each State Government is responsible for determining what level AFL football is at in their State and approving when we can transition from one stage to the next. Formal announcements will be made by AFL Queensland to leagues and clubs when we receive official approval to transition into each stage. It is imperative that clubs and individuals do not move ahead of next stage and restrictions in place until formal approval is granted.
The current state of play:
- From 15 May, Queensland will transition to Stage 1 on the roadmap towards easing restrictions. The State Government has confirmed that this means solo or pairs training can continue. Group or formal training cannot commence in Stage 1.
- The State Government has indicated a transition to Stage 2 from 12 June. Subject to Government endorsement, this will involve extending the training group size to 20 people, although non-contact training with strict protocols continues.
- Pending further review, when the State Government moves to Stage 3 on 10 July and provides formal endorsement, we will provide you with further information on plans for return to competition, with hygiene and safety protocols firmly in place.
- For NSW based clubs and participants, we are currently seeking clarity from the NSW Government regarding their policy with community sport and training. Once we know this, it will be communicated.
We will communicate with our community football network once we have formal approval at each stage.
Our primary focus for Stage 1 is preparing to return in a safe, well prepared and educated manner. In order for this return to training and competition to be successful and approved by State Government, it is essential that we all play our part in implanting the clear health and safety protocols across all parts of our game. Again, we reiterate that this cannot occur until Stage 2 training is permitted.
Whilst our focus remains on safety and education preparations in Stage 1, we have also produced a detailed framework of what the season may look like for Junior and Senior football based on Government timings, as we progress through from Stage 1 to Stage 2 and 3. We understand how important it is for Clubs to plan and prepare for what a potential season could look like. We must reiterate however, this fixture’s forecast cannot be guaranteed and is subject at any time to changing advice from the State Government.
On Friday 15 May, the AFL will also re-open transfers until 30 June. Further information about transfers will be provided in our comprehensive FAQ document.
In addition, an important part of this return to play process is the requirement of each Club to appoint a COVID Safety Officer that is responsible for ensuring these protocols are adhered to and participants can return to a prepared and safe environment.
We also strongly recommend all participants immediately download the COVID-SAFE App, to ensure we can quickly trace and manage any outbreaks in the community. We all have an important role to play in ensuring that not only football returns, but Australia returns safely towards a normal way of life.
We understand this announcement will raise many questions for Club officials, players, parents and volunteers. As such we have prepared a dedicated Return to Play page on the AFLQ Website which will house all relevant documentation including Protocols, FAQs, Community Football Guidelines, Templates and key Government information. This page will be frequently updated as information evolves.
We will also be providing a suite of educational resources and COVID safety posters that can be downloaded from Toyota AFL ClubHelp. These can be used by Clubs once we return to small group training in Stage 2.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we look forward with cautious optimism towards getting a season underway in due course.
Chief Executive Officer