AFL Victoria has today announced a return to competition date for the 2020 Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL Season.
Eight VFL clubs will return to full-contact training from Monday 13 July with a seven-round season to commence on Saturday 1 August. The eight clubs will be Box Hill, Casey Demons, Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, Werribee and Williamstown.
The 2020 season will conclude with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation “Love the Game Final Series” with the top four clubs competing in a three-week Finals Series, culminating with the VFL Grand Final on the weekend of 10 October. A VFL split round will be fixtured to provide flexibility while preserving the integrity of the competition.
“We want to thank the Victorian Government for their support of Victorian football and thank the wider Victorian community – for an environment where VFL can resume,” AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter said.
“In line with the variations to the women’s competition this year, the focus for both VFL and VFLW football in 2020 is to ensure talent in both leagues are provided with the best opportunity to develop as footballers and ultimately reach the elite level.
“The VFL Competition will look different in 2020, but in consultation with all eight clubs, have developed a model which enables a fair and equitable season for our fans, clubs, players, coaches and officials. The VFL community has been patient and committed during this time and all players and coaches are ready for training and matches to resume.
“While not all AFL-aligned VFL teams will participate in the competition, we look forward to seeing each of the five standalone VFL clubs involved in the season. Each of those traditional VFL clubs have played a significant role in ensuring the season goes ahead and we commend them it.”
The AFL will continue to work with clubs, participants, coaches, umpires and all volunteers to ensure we return to competition play in an effective and safe manner in adherence with the Sport and Recreation Victoria and AFL Return to Play Framework (RTP Framework).
“While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we hope to start and finish the 2020 VFL season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalised with the public health officials,” Salter said.
“We know how much these competitions mean to players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans and we look forward to working together to ensuring all clubs return to play in a safe and well managed environment.”
The AFL will continue to review all arrangements including potential crowds and broadcast models in consultation with players, clubs and Victorian State Government and respective Health Officers.
“We thank all our partners for their continued support of the VFL and VFLW and especially want to thank Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear and rebel who continue to be great partners of the leagues.” Mr Salter said.
“Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear is engrained in local communities across Victoria and rebel continues to champion women’s football, and female participation across all types of sport with the aim to increase gender diversity.”
“I would also like to thank Premier Partners Toyota and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation for their commitment and all our competition partners across this period. We have been overwhelmed by the commitment of our partners during this time, and a return to play would not be possible without their support,” Salter said.
The AFL will provide a further update in the coming days on the revised fixture, season details and broadcast arrangements. The VFL competition has a strong relationship with the Seven Network through their support of the competition and are working with them on what their support will look like this year.
AFL-listed players are not permitted to participate in the VFL due to the AFL’s ‘Return to Play’ protocols currently in place. The current AFL protocols permits only approved players and staff who form part of the current AFL program to attend their club venues. These players and staff undergo regular COVID-testing and must comply with the AFL’s Return to Play protocols.