GVL issues stern warning to spectators

By Brayden May

STAY away if you aren't required.

That's the message from Goulburn Valley League officials as they aim to keep the 2020 season going.

In a statement on Wednesday, the competition said: "The GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League (GVL) board would like to remind everyone that only spectators necessary to support participation should attend matches and must abide by current group gathering restrictions.”

While some spectators did follow the rules, others did not leaving many people at club level frustrated.

It is behaviour which has since seen the league declare the season is "on a knife's edge".

“What we saw on the weekend, at all matches, was extremely disappointing,” GVL chairman David Roff said.

“To have people show a complete disregard to all social distancing guidelines could see the hard work of everyone come undone.

“We ask the public to ensure that only spectators necessary to support participation should attend matches and they must abide by social distancing and current group gathering restrictions at all times.”

Roff also stressed the importance of following rules set in place by AFL Victoria and the state government.

“As such, the GVL reminds everyone that it is imperative that the restrictions be adhered to from this weekend onwards, otherwise the GVL will have no choice but to cancel the season,” he added.

“Our league has first and foremost had the safety and wellbeing of our participants and communities as its number one priority.

“Behaviours exhibited by people not doing the right thing could jeopardise this safety, and if continued unchecked, the league would have no choice but to act and cancel the season in order to protect everyone.”

Competition operations manager Jo Spencer said it was imperative spectators did the right thing to ensure the next generation could continue their development.

“Season 2020 is not like we are used to,” she said.

“We know that people have been desperate to come along and have a day at the footy and netball, but we respectfully ask people to stay away.

“Let our juniors play the games they love and don’t take away their opportunity to do so. Anyone attending outside of these guidelines is just being selfish.

“If you breach these restrictions, you are leaving yourself open to penalties and fines from Victoria Police.”

A copy of the restrictions is available from clubs.

The guidelines


  • If you, or people you have been in contact with are sick, do not attend training or games and advise your football or netball coach who is responsible for informing the COVID Safety Officer.
  • Generally, you should be tested for COVID-19 if you develop fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home and seek medical treatment when you are sick. Do not attend if unwell.
  • People who present to training or games with symptoms, will be sent home immediately.
  • Any person wishing to attend training or games that has underlying health conditions or is considered a vulnerable person should consult with a healthcare professional prior to attending.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Spectator guidelines

  • If you are feeling unwell, you must stay home.
  • No one can attend games from lockdown postcodes, as advised by the state government.
  • Any attendance at community football matches by spectators will always be strictly compliant with government directions and restrictions.
  • Only spectators necessary to support participation should attend training and competitions and must abide by current group gathering restrictions.
  • Specific to junior football and netball, parents and/or guardians should limit their person-to-person contact on site when taking their child/children to training or games.
  • Parents and/or guardians should prepare their child/children for training/match day in accordance with the Return to Play Protocols.
  • Parents/guardians are encouraged to limit drop-off/pick-up to only one parent/guardian and other dependents as required and necessary. For those staying at venues, social distancing and gathering regulations must be adhered to.
  • Avoid social gatherings and mingling after training and games
  • The current return to play guidelines stipulates that no more than 20 people can access changeroom facilities at any given time, and as such it will be the home team’s responsibility to ensure each changeroom is monitored appropriately. The home team will supply two “door people” per game to ensure that this happens. The only people who can access changerooms will be players, umpires, coaches and club officials. No parents/guardians/spectators can enter changerooms.
  • Clubrooms at community football venues can have up to 20 people per indoor space, as long as the four square metre rule is met. Signage will be displayed at the entry to each indoor space outlining the maximum number of people allowed at a single time.
  • Only players and officials are allowed on the ground during matches, including breaks, and at training. No spectators on grounds during breaks or after the match.
  • Spectators for training and competitions must abide by public gathering restrictions. Spectators should be in groups of no more than 10 people in open, outdoor venues and spread out around the ground or venue. Spectators must keep 1.5 meters apart.
  • Gathering limits will not apply to participants and those reasonably necessary to conduct the training or competition (e.g. umpires, coaches).
  • Where venues allow for vehicle access surrounding the oval, spectators are encouraged to remain in their vehicle (subject to Government advice regarding risk for spectators viewing from vehicles, e.g. cohabiting family/household members only).
  • It is the recommendation of the league that clubs do not open canteens/kiosks. Should clubs choose to open a canteen/kiosk, understanding the risk involved, then they do so in line with the appropriate COVID Safe guidelines. Bars are not permitted to be open at any time.
  • Reinforcement of social distancing requirements will be displayed prominently by posters or newsletters at all venues and policed by club officials and police as required.
  • Reinforcement of ‘good health’ requirements will be conveyed by posters at all participating sports venues and through a social media campaign by all member clubs and the league.
  • It is the participating clubs’ responsibility to monitor crowd social distancing and if required they can liaise with Police to enforce social distancing protocols. If you are asked to move or leave an area, you must comply.
  • Any non-compliance to the Victorian Government’s direction and restrictions should be reported to Victoria Police.

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