Junior football co-ordinators have set a deadline for a decision on the 2020 Ballarat league season.
The date of June 26 has been locked in for a definitive call on whether or not most junior grades of the competition will proceed this year.
This comes on the back of the under-nine division being abandoned on Monday night. A Ballarat Football Netball League statement said that member clubs decided "unanimously" to cancel the popular division.
"We are disappointed to have to make this decision, but ultimately the safety, health and wellbeing of our players and their families must take precedence during these times," BFNL manager Shane Anwyl said.
The under-nine league commenced in 2019 with great success and was set to see the new Woady Yallock Warriors enter in 2020 as the ninth team.
"It's just not worth the risk where things stand at the moment until we get some further advice otherwise," Anwyl said.
Anwyl said the under-nine division was run differently to the rest of the league's junior structure, with 700-800 people to gather at a single venue at the same time on a Friday night.
"Where as a junior competition, you've got games starting at 8am and finishing at 4.30pm so you've got a constant rotation of people through the day," he said.
"You do not have that concentrated crowd number as you do for the under-nines and that's really what the primary concern was."
Anwyl said clubs had felt they needed a good amount of time to prepare for the rest of the junior grades (not including the under-19s which fall under the senior banner) hence the June 26 deadline.
"We've got a deadline of the end of July to commence a junior competition so clubs came to a conclusion that they'd prefer four weeks to be prepared," Anwyl said.
"So the date of June 26 is the final deadline that aligns with that and that gives clubs plenty of opportunity to get themselves prepared should we kick-off by late July."
There remains no decision on whether or not senior grades of the BFNL will go ahead in season 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper community sport.
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