Some Central Highlands Football League (CHFL) coaches have made it known their sides will play for free if it means footy can return to the field sooner rather than later.
The CHFL decided on Thursday that footy would not return on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, due to crowd caps, the struggle to police crowd numbers and the impact on clubs not being able to benefit financially from crowds.
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Skipton co-coach Sam Willian told The Courier player payments weren't an issue for their sides, their players happy to give the money back to their respective clubs.
"I know all of our players would be more than happy to play for reduced or no cash for a few games," Willian said.
"Whatever it takes to get back to playing.
"For the mental health of players, I know a lot of our boys, footy's their escape.
"Now we're back at training it's good for the mental health, but a lot of them just want to get back to playing."
The CHFL's salary cup is $85,000 a year.
Divided over the 16 games each team usually plays, that's $5,312.50 a week and while most teams wouldn't spend that much, a portion of that is still a significant amount to fork out while crowd numbers are capped and income is down.
Gordon co-coach Adam Toohey said his side had discussed the issue in 2020 when the season was up in the air, his players deciding they'd be happy to play for free.
He expected they'd do the same this season if it was required.
Other clubs haven't discussed the possibility of no player payments yet, but have said it may come up in the future.
Waubra coach Matt James said it's a no brainer for his team.
"We won't be able to pay players," he said.
"No one cares, they just want to play, they're shattered that they're not playing this weekend."
He added that the crowd cap can be worked around with good planning in the next 10 days.
"I don't think the CHFL should be putting pressure on itself to come up with arrangements," he said.
"Clubs have 10 days now to work this out."
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