Dear Parents and Players,

I promised that we would keep you updated regarding any changes in the club’s approach in light of the developments surrounding COVID-19.

You may have seen that the AFL has issued a statement with its position on the coronavirus, which can be found here. That is based on Australian Government advice that limits gatherings of over 500 people from Monday, 16 March. As such, the AFL has suggested that group gatherings and matches can proceed until further notice. However, the AFL has also left it to the discretion of the leagues, clubs and individuals to decide whether to participate in any such activities.

AFL Sydney Juniors, our league, has not added further to the discussion, which therefore leaves it up to the club or individual to decide what to do. As a club, we decided not to put our volunteers or parents in the position of having to make that call. Accordingly, we decided to cancel any club-related activities (practice matches, intra club trials and training sessions) that were planned to be held this weekend.

Further, while the AFL has not (yet) said anything about any activities from 16 March, we have also decided to cancel all training sessions until further notice.

While it might be said that those activities do not involve large numbers of people, we believe that playing in games and participating in games and training involves physical contact, which can and should be avoided to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at this point in time. We are not alone in that view.

We are sorry if that adds to your concerns about the impact of the coronavirus or if it causes any inconvenience. However, I’m sure you all appreciate that this is a developing situation, and we would rather err on the side of caution with the health of our volunteers, players and parents in mind. Rather than waiting to see how things develop further, we believe that cancelling all club-related activities is the right call to make at this point in time. And given that other sports have already made similar definitive decisions, and employers and schools might do the same next week, we may well just be ahead of the curve. Regardless, we hope our decision we help provide some certainty in these uncertain times.

We will hold off making a specific call on Gear Day on 22 March at this stage. However, we will communicate our decision on that before the end of next week.

We will continue to be guided by any further information and advice we receive from the AFL or the AFL Sydney Juniors. We will also continue to keep you updated regarding any further changes in the club’s approach. In the meantime, please stay calm and stay informed.

Again, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me directly.


Brendan O’Brien

President Willoughby Wildcats JAFC

0410 296 587