Over the past four weeks, there have been hundreds of young footballers who have enjoyed the opportunity to get in a game football with their friends in a community football competition in the Bendigo Bank & Rural Bank Central Highlands FL junior competitions.
This has been able to occur due to the enormous effort by many club volunteers, parents and umpires and it has been very clear that through the numbers who wished to participate that being able to get at least four rounds of football to occur has been of significant benefit both physically and mentally to these young people who have played.
Due to the steps which the Victorian government has taken on 2nd August to move regional Victoria back into stage three restrictions from Wednesday 5th August means that community sport training and competition for players under 18 years of age are no longer able to occur.
Therefore the President and Board of the Bendigo Bank & Rural Bank Central Highlands FL announce that the 2020 Junior competitions at all ages; Under 18, under 15 and under 12, will cease as of today and no further matches will be played in 2020. As of Tuesday evening no further training at clubs will be able to occur.
These restrictions will be in place until at least the 13th September 2020 and as was experienced in the previous period when Stage 3 restrictions were in place the return to training and subsequently matches were in a phased manner over a period of weeks so it is not feasible to attempt to get back to matches or any playoff matches at the end of the planned 9 week season.
It now will become the focus of the league Board to work with AFL Victoria and all the member clubs of the league to strive towards how a return to matches for all members of clubs can occur in 2021. There are no illusions that a return to matches may be very difficult in 2021 and that significant work will need to be undertaken for all member clubs to be in a position to return to competition.
The Bendigo Bank & Rural Bank CHFL Board are committed to working with all clubs to achieve this aim wherever possible.