Cricket Victoria and AFL Victoria wishes to advise it has reached an agreement on plans for prospective community seasons for both sports.
Both organisations entered these discussions understanding the impacts caused by COVID-19 and seeking to maximise the participation opportunities for football and cricket while also acknowledging the role that Local Government plays and the time required in transitioning grounds between football and cricket seasons.
While any commencement of local football and cricket seasons is subject to the further easing of restrictions, this agreement provides flexibility and options for leagues, associations and clubs to explore various fixturing models to be able to deliver a 2020 season.
The key agreement outcomes are:
- Football will have priority use access to fixture competitions up to no later than the following:
- Home and Away football fixtures for Seniors and Juniors to conclude on or before Sunday 27th September;
- Finals (or ‘lightning premierships’) for Juniors to conclude on or before Sunday 11th October; &
- Finals fixtures for Seniors to conclude on or before Sunday 18th October
- Cricket will have priority use access to fixture competitions from no earlier than the following (with play to commence when safe to do so – including ensuring matches do not proceed until pitches are adequately prepared):
- Premier Cricket 1st & 2nd Xl competition (Men and Women) – Saturday 10th October;
- Junior competitions from Friday 16th October; &
- All other senior competitions from Friday 23rd October.
N.B. Where community football competitions choose to not commence their season or have completed their season by the end of September, Cricket Associations shall retain priority flexibility to schedule matches from October 1st.
No football matches will be scheduled on any of the 21 Premier Cricket grounds (Men’s and Women’s) after October 1.
The Premier Cricket competition is entitled to schedule finals through to April 25, 2021. All other senior turf cricket competitions can only consider scheduling finals through April 2021 where they cannot commence their seasons before November 1, 2020 due to the time required to prepare safe wickets.
Most combined football and cricket grounds across the state will have a 3-4 week break between football matches finishing and cricket matches starting to adequately prepare the wickets and hand over the facility between local clubs.
The agreement comes following consultation with the Victorian Government and key football and cricket stakeholders including local municipalities across the state who help to ensure football and cricket grounds are available.
Local football leagues and cricket associations are strongly encouraged to work together as soon as possible, along with their relevant local Council(s) to identify grounds for football finals to help with football season and cricket season planning.
Cricket Victoria CEO Andrew Ingleton thanked AFL Victoria for their collaboration.
“This delivers a fair outcome for both cricket and football to conduct our seasons as close to normal as we can in the current landscape. We understand our respective communities and our partners in state and local government are looking for clear direction on upcoming seasons and this agreement provides that. I’d like to thank AFL Victoria and our team at Cricket Victoria for their comprehensive work to deliver this.”
AFL Victoria Head of Community Football Stephen O’Donohue thanked the team at Cricket Victoria for its work to reach this agreement.
“We are pleased to have reached this outcome for cricket and football in Victoria, sports that mean so much to many people in communities across the state,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“We will continue to consult closely with the State Government and relevant medical authorities, and if a further easing of restrictions is to occur, we now have the flexibility that provides local football leagues with an opportunity to hopefully get games away in the coming months.”
AFL Victoria and Cricket Victoria, together with the Victorian Government, have long been party to a Determination of Seasons Agreement which defines the traditional football and cricket seasons.
This agreement and the ongoing spirit of cooperation has and will continue to serve both sports well.