AFL Community Football & Auskick Postponed | Play.AFL
AFL Community & NAB AFL Auskick Guidelines on COVID-19 AFL COVID-19 Guidelines

AFL Community & Auskick FAQ

11.14am AEDT, Fri 20 March

AFL Community Football & Auskick Postponed For General


GENERAL

Why has Community Football/NAB AFL Auskick been postponed?

The AFL has made a recommendation that all AFL Community Club competitions and NAB AFL Auskick Centres currently operating and set to begin, be postponed until 31 May 2020, in line with the recent decision to postpone State League football.

 

Protecting participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments – continuing operating Community Clubs and programs risks those environments becoming a mode for spreading the infection.

 

Practically, it will be extremely challenging to commence seasons as planned, as our advice is that our 2020 Community Football season is highly likely to experience significant interruptions in the first part of the year.

 

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

 

We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our football family.

When will Community Football/NAB AFL Auskick recommence?

At this stage, the earliest that AFL managed competitions/NAB AFL Auskick will commence will be 31 May, 2020.

 

The situation will be constantly reviewed, in consultation with our State Bodies and their Affiliates, and further communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings.

My Football Club/Auskick centre is small. Why has it stopped when the Australian Government Health Department advice is only for gatherings of over 100 indoors, and 500 outdoors?

Protecting participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments – continuing operating Community Clubs and programs risks those environments becoming a mode for spreading the infection.

 

Australian Institute of Sport guidance states “In a team environment there will be increased proximity and duration of physical contact that can facilitate transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens. Research in respiratory infections in travelling sporting teams suggests that the most likely pattern of spread occurs from within a team, rather than from external sources. When an unwell team member joins the team, due to the regular close physical contact between team members the infections can spread readily within a team (Valtonen et al., 2019)."

Who has made this decision?

The AFL has worked closely with its State/Territory bodies including the SANFL and WAFC, and our affiliated Leagues to arrive at this decision. It has also been done in consultation with the Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers.

 

All State/Territory bodies are fully supportive of this decision and have been in consultation with many Leagues and Clubs throughout this process.

Why is community football and NAB AFL Auskick postponed but the AFL/AFLW competitions are continuing?

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

 

By postponing community football and NAB AFL Auskick we believe we can protect participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers and help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments.

 

The decision was collectively agreed upon is based on the nature of shared public facilities across community football clubs and the health and safety of our volunteer network.

 

AFL / AFLW clubs have greater ability to protect players and staff and limit the chance of players contracting COVID-19 through stringent isolation measures. Community football and NAB AFL Auskick naturally bring people from across the community together in public environments and has greater risk of COVID-19 spreading.

 

The medical advice received suggests that there is also great risk for transmission of COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces. AFL and AFLW facilities are able to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and also have access to world class doctors to establish the highest standards and ensure sterile environments are maintained.

How can we maintain engagement in football during this time?

It is paramount that support and engagement in community football continues during these times. It is vital players, coaches, administrators, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and kids retain close links to their local clubs, Auskick Centres and wider league network.

 

We are continuing to monitor the situation and are regularly consulting with the Australian Government, the World Health Organisation and the AFL’s Chief Medical Officers on the best advice for our football community.

 

A working group involving representatives from State / Territory bodies has been established to work through the practical ways to keep people engaged in football during this time. Further updates will be provided in the coming days.


COMMUNITY FOOTBALL

What if our football League would like to continue playing?

The AFL, in consultation with its State/Territory affiliates, Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, have provided a strong recommendation to postpone the commencement of football seasons until 31 May, 2020. 

 

Ultimately, non-AFL managed Leagues are able to make their own decisions, but we also strongly recommend that the commencement of your seasons are also postponed to 31 May 2020.

 

The AFL is determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope. 

 

The Australian Government’s Community Sport Guidelines (March 18) have practical advice to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Are individual clubs able to continue training? And can we play intra-club matches?

The AFL, in consultation with its State/Territory affiliates, Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, have provided a strong recommendation to postpone the commencement of football seasons until 31 May, 2020. 

 

At this stage, despite previously advising a training start date of mid May, we are currently unable to confirm when training will be able to commence, given the changing nature of the situation.

 

The AFL will continue to work closely with State/Territory bodies, and our affiliated Leagues, in consultation with the Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, to constantly review the situation.

 

Further communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings and restrictions around training.

Why postpone to May 31 rather than May 1 like some other sports have?

The AFL, in consultation with its State/Territory affiliates, Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, opted for May 31 for the following reasons:

  • Alignment with the decision on AFL State League competitions.
  • Given the evolving nature of this situation, allow leagues and clubs time before starting to plan for the recommencement of the season.
What’s going to happen with fixtures when the season commences?

All State/Territory bodies will work with their affiliated Leagues to reset competition fixtures for the commencement of the season.  A range of options are being considered and further information will be provided in due course.

What happens if the situation hasn’t improved by the end of May?

This is an ever-changing landscape and we will continue to rely on the advice of the Australian Government, World Health Organisation, the AFL Chief Medical officers and our State/Territory bodies.

 

The AFL will continue to put the health and safety of our players, umpires and staff and the broader community at the forefront of our decision-making. When new information comes to hand the AFL will inform stakeholders immediately.

 

We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our football family.

 

For the latest information visit play.afl/covid-19. The AFL will continue to work through this with our State/Territory bodies and affiliates will provide an update as soon as possible.

How will Community Football Clubs survive with no revenue from registration fees, sponsorship or playing matches?

Our State/Territory bodies will be working closely with Leagues and Clubs to minimise the financial impact due to COVID-19.  This will include providing advice around reviewing expenditure and sustainability strategies, so that we are well placed to get through this challenge and focus on our recovery and return to competition and training following the postponement.

 

Further guidance around managing your Leagues/Clubs cost base will be provided in coming days and your League manager will be in contact with you in due course.

Will my Community Football Club be offering refunds?

The AFL, in consultation with State/Territory Bodies recommend that clubs hold player registration fees until the season is completed. Whilst we are all working toward recommencement on May 31, Leagues may also be exploring the possibility to extend the season. 

 

Given the uncertainty around the length of seasons, we recommend clubs hold player registration fees and revisit this issue at the end of season once the season structure has been confirmed.

Will we reduce salary caps or player payments to help clubs through the financial impact of COVID-19?

The AFL, in consultation with our State/Territory Bodies and their Affiliates are working through recommendations for salary caps and player payments and will provide updates in due course.

If during this period, clubs elect to continue to train and play matches, will they still be covered for insurance?

The AFL Public Liability Policy will continue to operate to provide cover to insured Leagues/Clubs during this period. That policy will provide cover to an insured League/Club found to have been negligent in, or otherwise legally liable for, causing injury to other persons/third parties. Injury includes sickness or disease and the policy may therefore cover a League/Club found to have been negligent in causing infection to a third party (e.g. players, officials etc). Cover under the policy is always subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy wording. One relevant condition is that Leagues/Clubs must take all reasonable precautions, and at their own expense, to prevent personal injury (in this case the spread of COVID-19). Failure to do so could result in the level of cover for a claim being reduced by the insurer.

 

Accordingly, all League/Clubs must take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to, following the advice and recommendations of Federal & State Governments and other statutory bodies, World Health Organisation and medical and other experts where appropriate.

 

The Personal Accident policy, which provides cover for footballing injuries sustained by participants and other officials, does not provide any cover for sickness or illness. However, if official/sanctioned training and games were to continue, the standard insurance coverage for footballing injuries would still most likely apply, subject always to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy wording. 

For clubs who may not suspend all operations, and then resume in a much shorter season, will insurance rates be amended to reflect the shortened season?

This will need to be discussed further with all stakeholders as the situation evolves. However, regardless of whether seasons are completed in full or not, all Leagues/Clubs will need to maintain, and pay for, their Liability and Property covers for the full period to minimise potential exposures. Those covers, including personal accident cover for participants, have been in place for Community Football since November 2019 to cover pre-season training, practice matches and other footballing activities to date. If seasons are significantly reduced or cancelled, consideration can be given to rebates on the personal accident insurance costs.

Will clubs need to continue paying coaches given these are unlikely to be on a per game basis and coaches will not be performing many of the services for a period of time?

The AFL encourages clubs to have conversations with their coaches and negotiate in good faith given the financial impact on clubs whilst club revenue streams are impacted.

Will there be a point in time where we tell clubs/leagues that the season won’t go ahead?

The AFL will continue to meet with State and Territory associations in relation to community football and will continually review this situation based on the changing circumstances and advice from government and relevant health departments and medical experts. We will communicate any updates and provide advice in a timely manner.

Will the AFL be turning off registrations and transfers?

The AFL will not be turning off registration nationally, however, Leagues and Clubs are encouraged to freeze registrations during this period of uncertainty.

 

In relation to transfers, the AFL have turned off the National Online Transfer System in Footyweb so that no new transfers can be processed. This went into effect from 19 March and will be closed until May 1 with regular review on when is the appropriate time to re-open the system. 

 

There is no need for new players to seek transfers at this time given the recommendation that all community football be postponed until May 31. Should any non-AFL governed league decide to continue playing we want to ensure leagues who have postponed are protected and that their players are unable to transfer to those leagues. 

 

Turning off transfers will allow volunteers a period of time where they do not need to monitor transfers. 

 

Please note that currently pending transfers (from 19 March) will still be processed following the AFL National Registration and Transfer Regulations. 

Will transfer dates in the AFL National Registration and Transfer Regulations be adjusted to allow transfers beyond June 30 given the later commencement date for the season?

The AFL, in consultation with its State/Territory affiliates, are reviewing this and will be able to provide an update once the season commencement dates are confirmed.


NAB AFL AUSKICK

My Auskick season has commenced, do I get a refund?

The Auskick team are currently working through this and will provide more information at a later date.

If Auskick is cancelled, are we required to send back the Auskick packs?

No, those children that have already received their Auskick packs will not be required to return them.

I ordered equipment, is there any danger of the equipment being infected?

The AFL is working with the suppliers and delivery providers of the equipment (goalposts, balls etc.) and ensuring they have instituted heightened hygiene procedures. Any staff member who work for our providers who feel unwell, are not to come to work and ensure they only return to work once they have a clean bill of health.

As a coordinator, am I still communicate with my NAB AFL Auskick Centre?

Yes, you can still communicate with your Auskick centre and help ensure we are helping one another stay positive during this challenging time. We do encourage that for the latest information on the status of your operating Auskick centre and timings, you regularly check play.afl/covid-19. The situation will be constantly reviewed by the AFL and communications will be provided regularly via play.afl/covid-19 as new information comes to hand.

Is there any advice in how we can support the Auskick and Junior football Participants at home?

Yes! We encourage Auskick and junior football participants to visit the official Aussie Rules YouTube Channel and get inspired by the Footy at Home series. The mini-series consists of AFL and AFLW talent showcasing how everyone can practice their football skills away from the football field, including in the comfort of their own home.

 

Further information will be provided on how you and your family can continue to be engaged in AFL in the coming days.

When paying I used a Government Sports Voucher for NAB AFL Auskick, will I be able to utilise this for another program/sport?

The AFL is currently working through each of the State and Territory governments where vouchers are provided. Please get in touch with aflauskick@afl.com.au to find out what you may be entitled to.

I live in QLD, will my Superstars Footy season be postponed?

The AFL has recommended that all AFL Community Club competition, NAB AFL Auskick Centres and AFL Queensland’s Superstars Football program currently operating and set to begin, be postponed until 31 May 2020. The situation will be constantly reviewed, and communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings on when the Superstars Football program will re-commence.

 

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

If my Club Auskick centre is cancelled/postponed, will the Kinderkick program follow suit?

The AFL has recommended that all AFL Community Club competition and programs like NAB AFL Auskick Centres currently operating and set to begin, be postponed until 31 May 2020. This will include Kinderkick. The health and safety of participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers underpin our ability to play football and conduct sessions that are loved by our communities, members and supporters. As an industry, the AFL plays a vital role in working with community members to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments.

 

The situation will be constantly reviewed, and communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings.

 

We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our football family.


HALF TIME AUSKICK

Is Half Time Auskick going ahead at matches?

There will be no half time Auskick for the first weekend of the NAB AFLW Women's Final Series and round 1 of the Toyota Premiership season. As previously communicated, all matches played in AFLW and AFL games will be without spectators.

Will my child be provided with another opportunity to play at Half Time Auskick again this season if it is cancelled?

Given the changing environment of COVID-19, we are unable to confirm if another opportunity will be provided to your Auskick Centre/child to partake in NAB AFL Auskick half time.


OTHER

Does this recommendation apply to AFL 9s competitions?

At this stage, this recommendation also applies to AFL 9s competitions, including those competitions currently operating.

I play in an AFL sanctioned school football competition. Will this still go ahead?

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

 

The AFL has recommended that all AFL Community Club competitions, NAB AFL Auskick Centres and school football programs and competitions currently operating and set to begin, be postponed until 31 May 2020. The situation will be constantly reviewed, and communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings on when programs will resume.

What can we do to help our community to reduce collective anxiety and manage individuals who are distressed at this time?

There are a range of ways in which people in the community can reduce collective anxiety and manage individuals who are distressed.  For example:

 

1.  Practice and model self-management of stress

  • Engage in breathing exercises throughout the day to maintain a calm state
  • Establish a calm ritual: every time you wash hands for 20 seconds, count 5 calming breaths
  • Rest regularly (both mentally and physically), and maintain good sleep hygiene
  • Maintain good social connections and communicate openly with family and friends
  • Continue enjoyable activities and hobbies, including exercise (especially if in isolation)
  • Balance time spent on reading or listening to news on COVID-19 with other activities such as listening to music, reading, watching TV
  • Get quality sleep and avoiding the use of alcohol or other vices to cope with stress
  • Practice relaxation, meditation and mindfulness every day to settle the body and readjust to a calm state

 

2.  Limit media exposure to reliable sources

  • Constant media coverage about the coronavirus can keep us in a heightened state of anxiety. Try to limit related media exposure and instead seek out factual information from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert or other trusted organisations such as the World Health Organization (https://bit.ly/3cQUwCw)
  • Remind your players that social media, whilst it may be the most up-to-date news it may not be the most factual information source.

 

3.  Keep things in perspective

  • Distract when notice catastrophising (blowing things out of proportion)
  • Distract when notice personalising the situation (blaming yourself for things outside your control)
  • Take a problem-solving stance regularly i.e. don’t make a judgment without supporting information
  • Take different perspectives (view your situation from other people’s point of view)
  • Focus on what you can do (hand hygiene, practicing wellbeing strategies) and accept the things you can't change (global responses)
  • Focus on facts - illness due to COVID-19 infection is usually mild and most people recover without needing specialised treatment
  • Impacts of COVID-19 are time limited
  • Take a compassionate stance: we all have a role to play to reduce transmission to protect the vulnerable in our community and our healthcare workers.