AFL NSW/ACT has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 AFL Sydney community football season due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the current COVID-19 outbreak across Greater Sydney.
This decision also extends to its NAB AFL Auskick programs in the region. The impacted competitions are:
- AFL Sydney Seniors
- AFL Sydney Harbour Juniors
- AFL Sydney Western Sydney Juniors
- All NAB AFL Auskick Centres
AFL NSW/ACT's Community Football Manager, Emma Highwood, said Monday's announcement to cancel all AFL Sydney competitions for the season is disappointing for the players, coaches, umpires and volunteers who invest so much time, effort and energy in the season.
"AFL NSW/ACT shares in the immense disappointment to be unable to complete the 2021 competition in its entirety," she said. "However, today's outcome is the unfortunate reality of the challenges the pandemic continues to throw at the community.
"AFL Sydney would like to take the opportunity to thank our stakeholders for the constructive feedback which assisted us coming to this difficult decision."
In reaching the decision, it became increasingly apparent that with the continued escalating health crisis there is, understandably, no NSW Government sanctioned roadmap out of the lockdown for sport provided at the moment.
It is equally clear that the timeframes of a possible return and ability to resume competitions were now not viable for winter sporting codes.
Accordingly, no premierships, medals or awards will be given for 2021 cancelled competitions.
Tiffany Robertson, Head of AFL NSW/ACT, acknowledged the heartbreaking decision and emphasised AFL NSW/ACT's commitment to supporting its network.
"Although it's disappointing for everyone involved, our priority is to support our clubs, players, officials and volunteers through these challenging circumstances," she said.
"I'd also like to acknowledge the collegiate approach shown by our colleagues in the other major winter codes, particularly NSWRL, Football, Netball, Football, Rugby Union and Hockey, who have been forced to make similar heartbreaking decisions in relation to their own competitions.
"We look forward to a return to community sport in the coming months and working together with our stakeholders to get back to footy when it's safe to do so."
If safe and permitted, AFL Sydney may explore opportunities to gather its football community in an informal manner prior to the traditional end of the winter season.
They will also provide opportunities for participants and clubs to join its spring alternate format competitions of AFL 9s and Junior AFLX, if they can proceed in October.