Lockdown ends football, basketball seasons

The Essendon District Football League season has been cancelled. (Damjan Janevski) 243420_01

Tara Murray

Premiership and championship dreams came tumbling down for many local sports players of all ages last week.

The extension of the COVID-19 lockdown to beyond September 23 has left many of the winter sporting competitions with no option to bring to a close their seasons.

It’s a bitter blow for many, after most players didn’t get to play at all in 2020.

Basketball Victoria issued a statement saying that the Victorian Junior Basketball League, Big V and National Basketball League 1 south competitions would be cancelled.

No champions will be declared in those competitions.

In the Big V competition, Keilor Thunder men and Altona Gators women were the minor premiers in their respective divisions.

Whittlesea Pacers, Craigieburn Eagles, Sunbury Jets and Hume City Broncos all had senior teams set for finals.

Basketball Victoria’s under-12 skills days and identification camp have been postponed.

The eight metropolitan football leagues issued a joint statement on Thursday announcing the leagues had mutually decided to cancel all competitions for the 2021 season.

Among the leagues are the Essendon District and Western Region football leagues, the Northern and Riddell District football netball leagues and the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

The netball competitions for the relevant competitions have also been cancelled.

“All leagues have been working diligently in the hope of enabling the remaining games in the 2021 season to be played,” the statement said.

“However, it is now apparent this will not be possible in the current environment.

“All leagues are committed to working closely with their member clubs, AFL Victoria and Netball Victoria to manage the associated issues related to the cancellation of all 2021 competitions and working towards a return to play next season.”

The statement said operation aspects of the decision, like possibly awarding premierships or promotion and relegation will be provided by the respective leagues.

The Ballarat Football Netball League has also cancelled its season, saying no premierships would be awarded. The Sunbury Lions and Melton were due to play in the senior football finals.

on Wednesday, Football Victoria said the board of directors would meet and consider the impacts for all soccer and futsal stakeholders.

“This will be communicated as quickly as possible to provide a roadmap for our community on the remainder of the season for each competition.”

The extended lockdown is also set to impact the summer sports, with many seasons set to start in early October.