We were notified by the NEAFL this morning that the season will not be going ahead this year. This decision is not one made lightly by the NEAFL and comes after extensive consultations between the NEAFL clubs and the AFL over the past 2 months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all levels of the game, with the NEAFL competition particularly being thrown in to doubt with the need for interstate travel, the loss of the four AFL clubs fielding NEAFL teams and remaining clubs facing severely reduced revenue streams.
Notwithstanding these significant challenges we along with the other four remaining non-AFL affiliated NEAFL clubs, continued to work together on several alternative proposals which would have enabled a NEAFL season to be played, albeit in a significantly altered format. However, in the end, taking all of the practical and financial circumstances into account there was, most unfortunately, not a viable competition proposal that all clubs were able to commit to for 2020.
Sydney University is extremely disappointed to receive this news as the Club had flagged its commitment to the most recently proposed season models. On receiving the news, SUANFC President, Sam Power, acknowledged the unwavering commitment of all involved at the Club during this time and expressed his regret that a competition wasn’t able to be pulled together for this year: ‘It is with regret that we have to inform our players, coaching staff, and volunteers that the NEAFL season for 2020 will not be going ahead. We acknowledge that everyone involved has put in a lot of work over the past 2 months and while we were keen to have our NEAFL players participate in a competition this year we were undoubtedly faced with a number of barriers that proved too strong’.
The club is now in the process of working with all players, coaching and support staff to provide direction on their next steps, including opportunities to still be involved in the game this year. The club would also like to acknowledge and thank all the players and coaching staff for their patience, engagement and loyalty during what has been a very difficult period of uncertainty.
The Club notes that it has no information to share currently on the future of the NEAFL competition for 2021 and beyond. SUANFC is awaiting further talks with the AFL as the league is still working through a myriad of economic and other headwinds to determine 2021 details around the AFL competition nationally (including the size of lists and football budgets). Many of these matters will influence eventual outcomes for second tier football and talent pathways across the country (including in NSW/ACT and QLD).
For the full AFL media release, read on here…