Sport

KDL cancels 2020 season

By Kyabram Free Press

THE Kyabram District League season has been cancelled after member clubs voted against proceeding with the 2020 campaign.

An extraordinary meeting last Wednesday night saw clubs agree state government measures and their surrounding timeframes would make running a season inappropriate, with public health and safety also a major part of the reasoning behind the decision.

The decision follows on from the Heathcote District Football League’s announcement that it had cancelled its 2020 season.

A Kyabram District League statement stated football and netball was not a top priority through ‘‘the biggest crisis of our generation’’, with the league instead turning its attention to 2021.

Rushworth FNC president Peta Williams said safety was paramount for all involved.

‘‘We as a club need to ensure that we have the health, safety and wellbeing of each and every member of the club at the forefront of our decision-making regarding the league and its future.’’

In a statement on its Facebook page, Merrigum FNC agreed.

‘‘We decided that the benefits of the season, as important as it is for people's mental health, social life and fitness, was unfortunately outweighed by the downside,’’ it said.

‘‘We firstly did not want to risk the health and safety of our volunteers, players, family members and community.’’

League president Fraser Kerrins said the decision had been far from easy, but said the implementation of social-distancing restrictions, the return to full-scale training, contact participation and the ability to host unlimited crowds would not happen in a timeframe that made a season viable.

‘‘Since the COVID-19 crisis started, our league executive and administration have been working tirelessly, with the support of our member clubs, to exhaust all opportunities of delivering a product on behalf of the KDL,’’ he said.

League operations manager Nathaniel Dedman said government restrictions aside, protecting the health and safety of the leagues players, officials and members was the top priority.

‘‘On top of this, there is a real concern regarding the health and safety of our members, supporters and volunteers while this virus is still not under control,’’ he said.

‘‘We also have concerns about the financial impact on our clubs and members given the current hardship facing our country right now. Without memberships, gate takings, canteen and bar revenue — combined with an anticipated lack of sponsorship — makes community sport a tough place to operate.

‘‘As a league we went into this crisis with 15 clubs, and we intend to have 15 clubs joining us when the first ball is bounced in 2021.’’