IN A MAJOR blow to the BFNL's aspirations to stage a 2020 season, Gisborne has announced its decision to withdraw its football and netball teams from the competition.
In a statement released to club members on Tuesday night, Bulldogs president John Wood said the 'difficult decision' had been made in response to 'concerns for the health, safety and well-being of our players, their families and the broader community'.
"As we returned to training we were all hopeful that the season would get underway," the statement read.
"Unfortunately, the recent spike in COVID cases brings with it significant concerns for our players and their families.
"The expectation that the COVID numbers will continue to increase in the short term led the committee to make this difficult decision.
" Our concerns for the health, safety and well-being of our players, their families and the broader community was the key driver for this decision.
"We are also mindful of our moral obligation to prevent the spill of the virus into regional and rural Victoria.
"Whilst we love to play, the safety of our families and friends is far more important."
A tough situation for Gisborne, which is located within the Macedon Ranges council area, became more precarious on Tuesday, when Victorian premier Daniel Andrews ordered a four-week lockdown of several 'hotspot' suburbs in the neighbouring Hume council area.
Wood said the BFNL had been notified of the Bulldogs's decision today.
The move comes as the BFNL board and clubs prepare to meet on Wednesday night to discuss the fate of their 2020 season.
BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins told the Bendigo Advertiser earlier this week that the league would not be influenced by a spate of recent football-netball league season cancellations.
"We've said all along that what happens with other leagues and the decisions they make won't have an impact on us and that we'll make our decision based on what's best for us," BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins said on Monday.
"Our timeline hasn't changed from last week. Our clubs have had our survey in their hands since last Thursday and we've given them time to meet as a committee and have a chance to digest the AFL Victoria protocols."
Asked if his expectation on Wednesday night was for a definite decision to be made on the season being called off or it's going to be played, Tomlins answered: "I would expect we're going to come to some sort of a decision by Wednesday night."
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