The return of the 2020 NPL Victoria senior men’s season has been thrown into uncertainty, with clubs declaring that a resumption of play "isn't financially viable" under current circumstances.
Football Victoria (FV) CEO Peter Filopoulos told FTBL on Tuesday Victorian football was planning for a resumption of competition towards the end of June or early July, with a return to training mooted as soon as the Victorian governing body could distribute Return to Training guidelines.
But approaching FBTL in the wake of that article, senior figures at several NPL clubs expressed concerns over the integrity of a season staged with the modifications that COVID-19 would demand, as well as the costs associated with staging games and maintaining club operations without the income associated with live crowds.
It is understood that up to nine of the clubs in the 14-team Victorian top-tier believe the men’s senior 2020 season should be cancelled, although there remains a commitment to staging junior competitions and an openness to a women’s senior competition.
Regardless of what happens with the resumption of senior NPL football, though, sources have told FTBL that community competitions from State League One and below are set for an early July re-start.
Association of Australian Football Clubs Chairman Nick Galatas says its Victorian clubs consider a senior men’s competition in 2020 is not sustainable under current arrangements.
A collective body of National Premier League clubs around Australia, the AAFC has been representing clubs in negotiations over football’s resumption with member federations and the FFA and is set to meet with Football Victoria in the coming days.
"COVID-19 has been a challenging time for everyone in the footballing community,” Galatas told FTBL. “Throughout it, the AAFC has been actively representing our members' interests in working with member federations and the FFA to help plan for football's eventual return.
“The situation has unfortunately been incredibly difficult and uncertain for our members in Victoria, and we'll be meeting with FV in the coming days to help figure out a plan moving forward.