//The Return of CHFL Junior Football

A Message From the League

The return of matches for junior CHFL grades this weekend is going to be a tremendous experience for all who are involved. There were many stages during the past four months when it looked unlikely that this would happen this year.

Initially thanks to each of the clubs who are able to get teams for this belated start to the season. In particular well done to all the volunteers: committee, coaches, support staff and everyone who undertakes any role in your club for your persistence.

It has been clear that the longer the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic persisted it was hardest on the club volunteers who didn’t know if they needed to keep trying to get teams ready for matches and what would it look like when those matches are allowed to start.

The requirements which have to be undertaken to make participation as safe as possible are an additional task which adds to work for volunteers and I hope that you have been able to identify additional volunteers to help with these extra jobs.

I wish to highlight the importance of ensuring that the return to matches guidelines which each club must operate by are followed diligently. Everyone within each club must this week receive education on what they can or cannot do to ensure that matches are able to continue throughout the 11 weeks which is planned.

Spectators must be kept to a minimum, this week is not an opportunity for all members of the club to come along. Members of the club who might not be able to play should not be attending these junior matches.

All who are in attendance should be able to be recognised through one of three means: listed on the team sheet, through having the CovidSafe App loaded onto to their mobile phone or through signing a registration sheet including a contact number upon entry to the venue. If a person doesn’t want to follow these requirements they need to be asked not to attend in the interests of the junior players.

Extra time is left between each game because anyone who is not part of the next match should leave the venue after the match they were part of.

Change rooms should not be used for the normal preparations. It should be for toilets and medical requirements. As has been the case in recent weeks for the return to training players should where possible come prepared to play and any changing required be kept to a minimum.

Physical distancing is required in change rooms so they shouldn’t be used for match preparation as the room would need to be able to provide 4Msq for all that are in them.

Each club needs to clean any areas within a change room which they use between matches and at the end of the day. Home clubs are to have rooms cleaned for Covid-19 requirements before the day.

All spectators must respect physical distancing and each club must ensure that their members are respecting this requirement.

Throughout the period of lockdown and gradual easing of restrictions the CHFL Board has worked hard to return to matches in some form for 2020 with a focus towards ensuring that juniors within the CHFL get an opportunity to play.

It is vital over the next at least 9 weeks when all clubs are playing each round that clubs ensure that their registered members get to play each week when they are available.

Many clubs have over the past week lodged many Covid permits for players whose clubs are not going to be able to play this season. I welcome all juniors being able to play in this unusual year however as president of the CHFL I would be very disappointed if any member clubs looked towards short term gains of attracting players from the BFNL or other leagues with a hope of making a playoff in late September when their own members miss the opportunity to play every week which they are available.

This week is going to be very exciting as will the subsequent rounds when so many get a chance to play which didn’t look possible over recent months but everyone must remember that we remain in a pandemic environment, a situation which has not been experienced for more than a century, and the only way our junior players will get to play through to September is through everyone following the return to matches guidelines to the letter.