AFL Central Victoria will provide suggestions to its leagues about how to handle any potential lost rounds this year, but will leave it up to each of the competitions to implement their own individual by-laws.
After last year's abandoned 2020 season across the region due to the coronavirus pandemic, AFLCV and its leagues are gearing up for the return of competitions.
However, the state's recent five-day snap lockdown that ends 11.59pm tonight reinforced the potential for disruptions to seasons this year.
The snap lockdown that began at 11.59pm last Friday forced the abandonment of all community sport in the region last weekend.
AFLCV region manager Carol Cathcart said the state-wide Victorian snap lockdown highlighted the need for all its competitions to have new by-laws in place to deal with the ramifications of potential abandoned rounds this year.
"As community sport we need to be prepared for times where there may be short lockdowns during the season and have flexibility in the way in which it is managed," Cathcart said on Wednesday.
"Community sport is important and as long as we can do it in a safe environment, we want to be able to provide that opportunity to our clubs, volunteers and the community... it's something we've all missed.
"At the league AGMs we spoke about the need to have by-laws put in place so leagues would be prepared for if there were lockdowns during the season and what would happen if games couldn't be played?
"If games couldn't be played, what would happen with the points, what would happen if there was, for instance, a local government area lockdown and what would that mean if one club couldn't play, but others could?
"What would happen during finals time if a game couldn't be played because of a lockdown, so they are the sorts of questions we posed to leagues at the AGMs so leagues can be prepared for all the possibilities that may arise and be able to make some informed decisions so they don't have to potentially make some emotional ones at the time.
"We're working with AFL Victoria on this and we'll provide suggestions to leagues on the possibilities of what they could do if scenarios arise, but all our leagues have boards with their own constitutions and by-laws that they would then have to look at adopting that are relevant to their league and how they manage situations.
"So while we are preparing for the football/netball season to go ahead, the latest lockdown is a timely reminder that we will need to prepare for all eventualities in season 2021."
The AFLCV region encompasses the Bendigo, Heathcote District, Loddon Valley, North Central, Central Victorian Womens and Bendigo Junior leagues, as well as two new competitions this year, with Golden Rivers and Central Murray now falling under the AFLCV banner.
"If there are situations of short and sharp lockdowns that have impacts on our seasons, I'm confident we will manage it. We're very resilient in the country and we will find a way through," Cathcart said.
AFL Central Victoria 2021 competition starting dates:
Bendigo - April 2 (Strathfieldsaye v Sandhurst season-opener); round one on April 10.
Heathcote District - April 2 (White Hills v Elmore); round one on April 10.
Loddon Valley - April 10.
North Central - April 10.
Golden Rivers - April 17.
Central Murray - April 10 (Koondrook-Barham v Tyntynder season-opener); round one on April 17.
Central Victorian Women - April 11.
Bendigo Juniors - round one to be played over April 23, 24 and 25
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