Although Football NSW released its guidelines for a safe return to soccer last week, the Southern Tablelands Football Association has confirmed that it will not hold a Summer Soccer competition in 2021/22.
Under the conditions outlined by Football NSW, players can return to training as of today.
However, in order to do so, they must adhere to stipulations which include the following:
- Players aged 16 and up must be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption with a Medical Certificate. Those under 16 are not required to be vaccinated.
- No more than 20 people may take part, including players, coaches, and officials.
- All clubs must have a COVID-19 safety plan, which must require attendees to check in using a Service NSW QR code and adhere to the one person per four-square-metre rule in changerooms or communal facilities.
STFA director of football, Craig Norris, said in conversation with the Post that the decision not to pursue a summer competition was made due to the complexity of the regulations and the strain it would place on volunteers.
"I think we're going to err on the side of caution," Norris said.
"With the vaccination requirements in place, I don't think any of our volunteers need to put up with that issue.
"It's for the sanity of the volunteers, because even though the competition got cut short by about five or six weeks, it still felt like a long season.
"So everyone thought the best thing to do was have a break."
As it appears that COVID-19 restrictions will not be fully lifted until December, that would leave the STFA too little time to start a competition.
"By that time it's nearly Christmas anyway, and by the time we get out of that it'll be mid-January and almost pre-season," Norris said.
"So we'll have a rest, let the fields rest up and everybody regroup, and we'll go again with a proper season next year.
"We don't need to force anything now, we'll wait until we've got the green light to go back to normal."
In the meantime, the STFA will focus on putting finishing touches on the new pavilion at Cookbundoon.
In lieu of a summer competition, Norris added, the association will look into the possibility of holding training days or gala days for the juniors.
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