An important COVID-19 message from Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge

Dear All,

With football across the Football NSW landscape now back and underway, I thought it appropriate to reach out and send a couple of key messages to everyone involved in our game.

Firstly, congratulations and a big thank you to the many thousands of Association and Club staff and volunteers, and to all the parents and players for the manner in which they have all collectively worked together to get our players back on the pitch.

At times, it felt as if the whole 2020 winter season might have been lost to COVID-19, however, the manner in which we have all cooperated and worked to implement and follow the NSW Government’s Public Health Order and, in turn, both our ‘Return to Training’ and then our ‘Return to Play’ Guidelines has been nothing short of extraordinary. Having visited a number of community football games over the past few weekends, it has been refreshing and rewarding to see the smiles and joy on the faces of so many of our players, both young and old.

That said, I must provide a strong and timely warning against complacency and a reminder of the need to maintain vigilance in following all the required social distancing measures, particularly when attending training and football matches. Clearly, we do not want a second outbreak and certainly do not want to experience what is happening in Victoria. A number of isolated COVID-19 spikes here in Sydney, and what has been reported in the media in recent days concerning other sports, is a reminder that we are not over this pandemic yet. As a community activity, and one that brings so much joy and happiness to so many, we do not want to contribute to the further spread of the virus by letting our guard down now. By doing so, we run the risk of the re-imposition of tighter restrictions, including the potential that community sporting activities will again be suspended.

As such, we all have to be responsible for our own actions, and everyone needs to do their bit in working with our Associations and Clubs and complying with the measures that they are putting in place. This particularly applies to:

  • maintaining physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres;
  • not congregating in large groups whilst at training or games;
  • practicing proper hand washing and coughing/sneezing hygiene;
  • players arriving at venues already dressed and ready to train or play, and then returning home as quickly as possible, minimising the time that they are at the venue;
  • minimising the number of family members that attend training and games (ideally one parent/guardian per child); and
  • respectfully following direction from club officials and complying with signage.

Over the next few days, Football NSW will be providing more resources and information highlighting these key messages and it is incumbent on all of us to both follow these directions and ensure others at games do the same.

Unless we all do our part, there is a very real risk that community sporting activities will be once more suspended, and I am sure none of us want this.

In the meantime, stay safe, healthy, comply with all the advice and enjoy your football.

Regards,

Stuart Hodge

Chief Executive Officer