PLANNING is well advanced for football training to start in the Nambucca and Bellinger valleys in the coming weeks.
"There's a high level of expectation that we will be training again soon. We're as excited as anyone. But there's a process and steps we're going through to get in a position to train," North Coast Football general manager Andrew Woodward said.
"The State Government, local councils and football are working through this process."
On Friday, elements of the NSW Government's Public Health Order were lifted. This easing meant outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed. However, the change does not mean local clubs can now organise official training.
Football activity, including training, remains suspended until lifted by the sport's governing body in Northern NSW.
"We have to have patience for a little while longer," Mr Woodward said.
"We've got many thousands of players across 24 clubs and four junior representative teams raring to go. We're currently surveying these players to determine their availability for a season which will start later and finish later than usual.
"There are a lot of people in a lot of places working long hours and consulting widely on everything to get players on the pitch as soon as possible.
"There is, however, a necessary process to follow and we are doing so."
The process is:
- The NSW Government has amended the over-arching Public Health Order from April 9. The relaxation doesn't mean clubs can organise training. The FFA's suspension of football remains in place.
- Football's governing bodies in NSW and the ACT are working together to develop requirements and guidelines for the conduct of football. Football's guidelines will overlay onto the NSW Government guidelines. Football's guidelines will then be submitted to the NSW Government for approval.
- Local government has a role to play in all of this too as they control 23 or the 24 grounds in the North Coast Football (NCF) Zone. NCF has spoken with Coffs Harbour City and Clarence Valley councils - and will also have discussions with Bellingen and Nambucca councils.
- Once all of the above happens, the board of Northern NSW Football will meet to consider a recommendation from management and zones, such as NCF, on a date to lift the FFA's suspension of football so training can start.
- We won't have a date for the resumption of competition for a while, but we are aiming in July. Competition starting is subject to government approval. We're also talking with councils and other sports locally about ground availability.