TUSSLE: Maclean White's Jake Moore goes for a tackle on his Sawtell Scorpions opponent in the under-12 North Coast Football zone final at Barnier Park last year.
TUSSLE: Maclean White's Jake Moore goes for a tackle on his Sawtell Scorpions opponent in the under-12 North Coast Football zone final at Barnier Park last year.

Junior football leading charge for return to the pitch

FOOTBALL: It has been a long time coming but it looks like junior football will be the first to return after Northern NSW Football announced games could go ahead as early as July 3.

NNSWF stated in the announcement that junior football for those aged 18 years and under will be able to resume from July 1 with the goal to have competition matches back by July 3 and 4.

NNSWF CEO David Elandis said he was excited to get junior players back on the pitch.

“No doubt the announcement will create great excitement throughout the football community and the 35,000 players under the age of 18 years,” Elandis said.

While football associations are wasting no time with the return of junior competition, they are pushing for the green light on senior matches as soon as possible.

“We’re encouraged that the Government has also signalled the resumption of senior football,” Elandis said.

“NNSWF and Football NSW will continue to impress on the Government how important Senior Football is to community clubs and are hopeful that senior football can also return to play in early July.

“NNSWF and the Member Zones are well prepared for the return of community football. The Sport’s Return to Play Guidelines have already been submitted to NSW State Government for approval.

“Our focus will be now be applied to helping clubs and local government authorities prepare for competitive football and MiniRoos including attracting further volunteers for clubs.”

A wide range of sports have faced many challenges in emerging from the COVID-19 cloud and getting back to business, but Elandis said the association is committed to finishing the 2020 season.

“This season has been challenging to say the least. The enduring support of the thousands of selfless volunteers who have hung in there and held their clubs together throughout this crisis is acknowledged and appreciated.,” he said.

“I strongly encourage the parents of young players to continue to be patient as their club’s volunteers prepare for the long awaited return of Football.”

While junior football has been given the nod of approval to return from July 1, negotiations continue for senior players and teams, who got back to the training ground last week.