Whistle blown on senior soccer season

David Braithwaite

THE Latrobe Valley Soccer League has cancelled its men’s and women’s seasons, but remained hopeful its junior competitions will go ahead.

The league made the decision on Friday night after not receiving clarification on return to play guidelines from Football Victoria and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

The league wanted to answers to 10 key concerns by last Tuesday so clubs could make an informed decision, so that play could resume in a safe, sustainable and financially viable way.

Having not received all the answers it was after, the league abandoned the senior men’s and women’s, reserves and second division competitions.

Football Victoria has yet to provide return to play guidelines for senior competitions.

The Miniroos junior development programs will be suspended, with the aim of beginning in spring, depending on the further easing of social distancing restrictions.

LVSL president Allan Roberts said it wasn’t an easy choice for the league to make, but was heartened by the support of clubs.

“As a league we are also incredibly mindful of the role we play in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our members and wider football community, but all of that of the wider Latrobe Valley community,” he said.

“The LVSL board has always maintained the position that the welfare and safety of our players, coaches, referees, volunteers and spectators, and is paramount.

“The majority of our member clubs were firmly of the opinion that they could not 100 per cent guarantee that they could ensure that there was zero risk to our football community and that of the wider community if were to proceed with a senior season.

“But out of the current adversity we see opportunities, the LVSL board will use the downtime from competitions to plan and develop for the 2021 season and ensure that we are in the best position to come back stronger and bigger than before.

The LVSL will investigate if it can provide a safe, sustainable and viable junior competition under return to junior competition guidelines.

The league anticipated to begin its juniors on July 25, subject to any further announcements around community sport and the number of teams entered.

The league will have a junior meeting tonight.