COVID-19 has officially claimed the 2020 NPL and NPLW Victoria seasons, with Football Victoria cancelling all senior competitions in the Melbourne metropolitan area in the wake of the city’s virus spike.
Both NPL and community competitions will not proceed or resume in 2020, with alternative options surrounding possible spring and summer football to be discussed with clubs on an opt-in basis in the future.
NPL and community juniors, however, were spared the axe with some form of modified competition targeted for a September resumption on an opt-in basis, subject to health restrictions,
And with large swathes of regional Victoria having avoided a second wave of COVID-19 to now, FV affiliated junior competitions in Geelong and other regional areas can continue as scheduled but senior training and competition is suspended pending further advice from health services.
Other regional associations are also free to determine their own junior season’s outlook, although their senior seasons, too, remain suspended.
“In regions that are not facing lockdowns (outside of metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire), junior (18 and under) football can continue to be played, and we intend to create a schedule that allows for competition to take place, noting that some of those competitions are fixtured by FV and some are managed by the local Association,” FV said in a statement today.
“FV is still working through a vast number of issues related to fixturing, including those pertaining to regional clubs who participate in metropolitan competitions, or where there is significant crossover with clubs who are marginally outside the boundaries of affected regions.”
The NPL Victoria season was five rounds old at the time of its suspension back in March, with FFA Cup specialists Hume City sitting atop the table after five wins from five. NPLW, NPL2, NPL3 and numerous community competition's had yet to resume.
Top-flight clubs had raised concerns around the viability of a 2020 season prior to Melbourne's second wave, with FV laying out a series of principles that would allow a return to play in response.
Victoria recorded 270 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with 28 linked to known outbreaks and 242 under investigation. Coming in just 18 diagnoses shy of a state record set last Friday, it marks the ninth day in a row in which Victoria has recorded triple-digit growth in cases.
"It's not as high as our biggest single day, but we haven't turned the corner yet,” Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, said of the state’s COVID-19 numbers on Tuesday.