Kyneton Football Netball Club has withdrawn its under-18 football team and 17-and-under netball team from this year's BFNL competition.
After competing in round one of the revamped league on the weekend, the Tigers released a statement on Wednesday afternoon declaring their intention to withdraw because of the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the region.
"Whilst committed all the way through to providing a opportunity for the players to go on with their season, the increasing covid numbers in our region has been deemed by the Committee and the Football and Netball Departments, as far too much of a risk to our players and community to continue and along with the increasing demand to fulfil return to play - game day protocols,'' the club statement said.
"Whilst disappointing, the club feels this to be the only outcome in our changing covid climate.
"We thank all the players, coaches, officials and parents for giving it everything to get back to play."
Kyneton's departure brings the number of clubs involved down to eight. Gisborne elected not to participate in the football or netball competitions.
BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins said the league supported the Tigers' decision.
"The safety and well-being of all participants at games and training, and the wider community, has been at the forefront of our decisions,'' Tomlins said.
"There has been a spike in cases in their region, so we certainly support the difficult decision they've made."
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The league is likely to make an announcement on the fixture in the next 24-48 hours.
In light of Kyneton's decision to withdraw and the increase in COVID-19 cases in central Victoria, Tomlins said the community needed to keep an open mind on the future of the competition this year.
"Everyone needs to be realistic that we're dealing with a day-by-day, hour-by-hour situation,'' he said.
"Every game we get away is a bonus. It's really hard for us to look any further ahead than this week.
"With everything that's developing around us..we have a responsibility to make the right decision in terms of health and safety.
"We don't know what tomorrow will bring, let along next month. We have to remain flexible in what we're doing because of the environment we're living in."
Kyneton was scheduled to host Golden Square in round two on Saturday. Other games scheduled for this weekend were Sandhurst hosting Maryborough at the QEO, Kangaroo Flat at home to Eaglehawk and South Bendigo versus Castlemaine at the QEO. Strathfieldsaye were scheduled to have the bye.
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