SOUTH-WEST Victoria has had its first league pull the pin on season 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South West District Football Netball League, a focal point for eight small communities, announced no matches would be played in 2020 - the first time in its 50-year history - to ensure the health and well-being of participants and supporters. It's the first time a competition in the region has been abandoned since World War II.
The decision could have a knock-on effect with Hampden, Warrnambool and District, Mininera and District, Greater South West Junior and Western Victoria Female Football leagues considering their immediate futures as June 10 shapes as a key date.
Branxholme-Wallacedale, Cavendish, Coleraine, Dartmoor, Heathmere, Heywood, Tyrendarra and Westerns make up the league which is officiated by the South West Umpires.
"Notice was given today to AFL Western District of our decision to cancel the 2020 season," the statement read.
"This decision was not taken lightly, and the advisory committee would like to acknowledge and thank our club presidents and their respective committees for being forthcoming, open and honest within our discussion yesterday (Wednesday) evening.
"The biggest concern for all clubs is the health and well-being of their players, coaches, supporters and volunteers, due to there being so many unknown variables in relation to restrictions on contact training, competition contact play commencing and crowds.
"Our clubs feel that the best and safest decision moving forward for their members and volunteers is to cancel our 2020 season."
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The statement said the decision was made "in the best interests for all those involved within our league".
"Our members' health and safety are our clubs' and the league's top priority," it read.
"We believe that at this point in time the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to running a competition in the current COVID-19 environment.
"As a league our clubs will now be focusing on moving forward in preparation for season 2021.
"Our clubs and the SWDFNL advisory committee will be united in their efforts to ensure our competition gets back on it's feet in 2021."
The SWDFNL said it would support the GSWJFL in any decision it makes on running its seasons in 2020.
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