Western football league cancels season

105229_05 Garry Cadman celebrates a goal during the 2019 season.

Ewen McRae

By Ewen McRae

There will be no senior football played in the Western Region Football League this season, with the board putting a line through 2020 last night.

The board today announced that all seniors, reserves and under 18.5 men’s and women’s competitions would not go ahead this year, with too many clubs expressing reservations about returning to play.

The league said that concerns had been growing from clubs in recent weeks, with a significant majority of senior clubs conceding that their longer-term viability would be best served by not competing in a senior premiership season.

Other primary concerns raised by senior clubs included the health and safety of members and patrons and the inability to effectively manage crowds to comply with current social distancing rules and crowd restrictions at open public reserves.

The league still plans to run a junior football season, as well as a netball season, kicking off on July 26.

League chief executive Matthew Duck said ensuring all clubs survived the current pandemic and were in good shape for 2021 and beyond was their top priority.

“The WRFL has maintained a view throughout this process that 34 clubs went into 2020, and we need to do whatever we can to ensure 34 clubs come out,” Duck said.

“Clubs expressed concerns about their financials, older volunteers, crowd restrictions and an overall inability to manage crowds at open public spaces.

“We must make decisions based on what is best in both the short and the long-term. The information we have gathered from our clubs, together with the latest medical advice, has determined that cancelling the senior football competitions in 2020 is the only viable option.”

Whilst the premiership season is cancelled for senior competitions, the league said it is open to exploring club interest in a shortened, more informal opt-in/opt-out offering should circumstances allow later this year.