500 allowed at footy games

BBH Football Club has informed the NEFL that it won’t be participating this year. Photo: File.


As from Friday July 3, 2020, a crowd of 500 spectators will be allowed to enter football grounds throughout South Australia.

Following the state wide Zoom information session on Tuesday night (June 9), a crowd of 500 is the first step of many, planned in consultation with SA Health as the state builds towards bigger numbers being able to attend the footy as the season progresses.

In regards to the players returning to the field after this crazy hiccup we’ve all endured due to COVID-19, the protocols on change-rooms, distancing, showers, attention to injuries etc., will be released very soon.

Crowd numbers inside clubrooms is the next stumbling block facing country football clubs, teas after the footy, after-match presentations and drinks with a teammate or on-ground enemy after the game.

The crowd capacity inside the football clubrooms is governed by liquor licensing rules, so as the distancing restrictions ease, the numbers allowed inside hotels will also apply to licensed football venues.

The North Eastern Football League is set to kick-start its season on Saturday July 4, but that is yet to be finalised following the Clubs Delegates meeting with the NEFL Executive after the state wide meeting on Tuesday night.

Each club will discuss Tuesday night’s meeting and meet again with the NEFL Executive tonight, Thursday June 11, with their decision on a start – five of the eight NEFL clubs are reasonably keen to get the 2020 season up and running, but Burra/Booborowie/Hallett Football Club informed the NEFL more than a week ago that they won’t be participating this year.

With the crowd restrictions in place at the time of their decision to pull out of the 2020 season, the Rams committee concluded that with restrictions regarding the canteen, the after match tea numbers and the non-stop sanitising of everything at the club, the revenue that could be raised at the club during this time was limited.

That is a disappointing outcome and somewhat surprising; every day the restrictions in SA are easing and when footy finally gets cracking in the NEFL we might be near on back to normality, but that’s the BBHFC’s decision and life goes on.

Adding to the decision by the Rams to pull the pin on the 2020 season, the Riverton/Saddleworth/Marrabel/United FC isn’t a certain starter either – the Hawks have proposed five recommendations be adopted before they take to the track:

  • Crowds of 500 plus
  • Full access to change-room and wet areas
  • Unlimited restrictions on social distancing in the clubrooms and the canteen

* Finish the season by September 26 and start no later than July 4.

Three of the Hawks’ requests are pretty well in place, the crowd numbers, the starting date and the finishing date, the other two proposals are a bit ‘iffy’ at the moment, but as we know that could change any day.

Tomorrow morning, Friday June 12, 2020, most of us will know if or when the NEFL will get cracking…hopefully all will be revealed in next week’s edition of the Plains Producer.

Watch this space.

$0 salary cap for community clubs

When the 2020 football season finally starts, possibly within three or four weeks, community clubs throughout South Australia will be working with a salary cap of zero dollars per game.

The dramatic decision has been made due to the financial impact on football clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the SANFL committed to ensuring the survival and sustainability of leagues and clubs in SA.

Fuel expenses will still be reimbursed to travelling players and after-match awards will remain, but player payments will cease for this year and maybe even into the future.

The salary for all South Australian Community Football Clubs was formerly capped at $3500 per game, with one ‘Marquee Player’ at each club to receive a maximum of $1000 per game.

The reduction from $3500 to $0 per game seems rather radical, it might bring back a bit of loyalty and passion for the club and guernsey, but try telling that to the footballer who has being cashing in on a Saturday for years.

The feeling around the traps is mixed, obviously there are a couple of clubs in the NEFL that rely on ‘outside’ players and a few that have got enough locals to fill two senior grades, but NEFL president, Peter Meyer, is not impressed with the decision.

“I think it’s stupid, that’s my opinion because it’ll all get sent under the carpet again,” he said.

“We’ve virtually just got the salary cap where it’s controllable with clubs, it’s up to the clubs whether they can pay players or not, it’s not up to them (SANFL) to be telling us you can’t pay any player.

“It’s all very well for the SANFL to say the players, umpires and coaches are not getting paid, because they’re all on Jobkeeper; they could’ve just reduced it marginally, but not cut it out altogether.

“I’m not saying players don’t get cash under the table in some leagues, but it’s a lot more policed now than what it was – next year the big clubs with a bit of money behind them will just buy everybody they want, except where they’re controlled by points like we are, but not every league is controlled by points, so I think it’s ridiculous – no thought went into that decision,” Peter said.

Reigning NEFL premier, Blyth/Snowtown’s president, Ian Wandel, said the Cats aren’t fussed about the salary cap and said there’s merit in the decision.

“To be honest, it probably wouldn’t affect us too much this year, because with our points we’re pretty restricted with who we can recruit, so we’re not really that fussed one way or the other at the moment,” Ian said.

“There could be some merit this year for the decision, because with the money situation at clubs, finance is pretty tight, and if that goes into next year or the year after, there would have to be some tightening of the salary cap anyway.”

President of the North Clare Football Club, Ian Pearce, said his club needs to keep playing for the local lads, but it’s not an ideal decision from the SANFL.

“I wouldn’t say it’s ideal, but it is what it is and we’ll have to make do with it,” Ian said.

“I don’t think it’s a particularly bad thing for football, because basically we’ve got to keep playing for our local boys, that’s my point of view.”

RSMU president, Richard Noll, told the Plains Producer what a lot of people are thinking, regarding player payments.

“I don’t like the decision, I think it’s going to push things under ground; I think there’ll be plenty of brown paper bags going out, but we need to know if we’re going to play before we have a chat to the lads about it,” Richard said.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it goes, I think they could’ve just made a reduction to the cap, but we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days and go from there.”

When our great game does get up and running, we’ll have our regular footballers who play the game because they love it and the comradeship, and with this decision, we’ll now have every footballer playing for the love of the game and not for the filling of the hip pocket.