THE BFNL's junior football and netball competitions have been plunged further into doubt following the withdrawal of a second team within two days.
Maryborough Football Netball Club announced its decision to withdraw from the league's under-18 football and 17-and-under netball competitions late Thursday night.
The Magpies have also withdrawn their under 16, under-14, under-12 and under-10 teams from the Bendigo Junior Football League competition.
In a statement posted on the club's Facebook page, Maryborough president Brendan Roughead said the decision was made in the interests of player safety following increased COVID-19 concerns.
"We have a duty of care to our players, their families and our wider community and in the current climate of COVID-19, feel we are unable to guarantee their safety," the statement read.
"This is a responsibility we take very seriously and have tried our utmost to ensure this safety each time a player stepped onto the court/field.
"Our commitment to providing the players with an opportunity and an environment to play was paramount, however, the risks we now face are too great.
"Our responsibility now is to continue to encourage all of our members to follow Government guidelines in the hope that we can return to play the games that we love, at the Club we love in season 2021."
The Magpies' decision followed that of Kyneton's on Wednesday to withdraw from the under-18 football and 17-and-under netball competitions.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Tigers declared 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."
Maryborough's round one football clash against Castlemaine was postponed last week following concerns over a COVID-19 outbreak at Don KR Castlemaine.
The Magpies withdrawal reduces the number of teams still competing in the under-18 football and 17-and-under netball competitions to seven.
Gisborne elected not to participate in both competitions prior to last weekend's opening round of matches.
AFL Central Victoria has already announced that no under-age football or netball matches will be played in the region this weekend due to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
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