The Southern Tablelands Football Association has acknowledged that the 2021 season is likely to be called off early.
Though hope remains for the STFA to meet its October 23 deadline for restarting its competitions, yesterday's extension of the ACT lockdown and uncertainty about when the Goulburn Mulwaree LGA stay-at-home orders will end forced local director of football, Craig Norris, to admit that the door was rapidly closing on the current season.
"It's looking less and less likely we're going to get a competition," Norris said.
"We're still optimistic, but it's looking less likely by the day. No-one can give us a clear, definitive answer about when community sports will be allowed to return, so we're sort of stuck in limbo.
"We've set a cut-off date for the 23rd of October, if we're not ready and able to play by then, I think we'll be done."
In all likelihood, Norris added, even summer soccer will be cancelled as the regular season has been pushed back so far that there is little time to organise a formal competition.
However, in lieu of summer soccer, Norris said the STFA will look at the possibility of holding gala days, come-and-try days, and training camps for the junior players when possible.
"It'll be more one-day and two-day things rather than a full competition," he said.
"There's a few things in the system that we can utilise, so we'll be looking to use those."
As the reality sets in that the last soccer match of the season has likely taken place, it also complicates the future of the new building at the Cookbundoon complex, which is nearing completion.
The STFA and the Goulburn Mulwaree Council had hoped to hold an official opening ceremony for the pavilion, which Norris said they may now have to do at the start of the 2022 season instead.
"We can get it looking nice for the start of next season and do a good launch. I don't know what council's thinking, they might want to do a soft opening and then a big launch next year when we get some games into town again," he said.
Now that a presentation night will not take place in person, the STFA hopes to do another virtual ceremony to close out 2021, much like it did last year.
Should the season is officially called off, the minor premiers in each division will most likely be awarded the premierships.
"The minor premiers will probably be crowned premiers," Norris said.
"In a lot of football competitions around the world, it's first past the post. Everyone's pretty much played an even amount of games, I think there's one division where it's a little bit lopsided, so that might have to be a points-per-game average.
"But I think it's important we still crown champions. You've got to take something positive out of the season, and we were almost finished anyway, so we'll look at that."
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