Soccer season is off

Gregor Mactaggart

The Latrobe Valley Soccer League senior season has been abandoned.

The axe finally fell on the aborted 2020 campaign following a meeting of the LVSL board on Friday night.

One round was played at senior level in March before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reverberated across the country.

Ultimately the lack of answers on 10 key points submitted by the LVSL to Sport and Recreation Victoria and Football Victoria proved decisive.

“As a board and clubs we felt the answers to these points were necessary to allow our member clubs to make an informed decision around a return to competition in a safe, sustainable and financially viable manner for our senior and miniroos competitions,” the LVSL said in a statement.

“It is with regret we wish to inform the Latrobe Valley soccer community that we have not received all the answers we required … notably, we still have no ‘Return to Play’ guidelines for our senior competitions.

“As such the LVSL board regrettably wishes to advise that the 2020 senior men’s, senior women’s, reserve men’s and second division competitions will be abandoned for the 2020 season.”

The LVSL pinpointed a start date for junior competitions (Under-12 and up) of Saturday, July 25, subject to any further announcements around community sport and dependent on team entries from member clubs.

The league has pushed back a potential start date for the Miniroos (ages 4-11) competitions until spring at the earliest.

Soccer is the third major sport to pull the pin at senior level in the Gippsland region following Australian Rules football and netball.

The LVSL said that while the decision was a difficult one to make, they were heartened by the support of its clubs.

“The LVSL board has always maintained the position that the welfare and safety of our players, coaches, referees, volunteers and spectators was, and is paramount,” the league said.

“We would like to acknowledge and offer our thanks to all players, coaches and volunteers who have put in a significant amount of work at club level over the last 3-4 months in incredibly challenging circumstances.

“The majority of our member clubs were firmly of the opinion that they could not 100 per cent guarantee that they could ensure there was zero risk to our football community, and that of the wider community if we were to proceed with a senior season.

“But out of the current adversity we see opportunities.

“The LVSL board will used the downtime from competitions to plan and develop for the 2021 season and ensure that we are in the best position possible to come back stronger and bigger than before.”