Great Southern Football League president Terry Corcoran talks exclusively with The Times on the possible start for football

CHALLENGE: Great Southern Football League president Terry Corcoran understands the plight of clubs.

CHALLENGE: Great Southern Football League president Terry Corcoran understands the plight of clubs.

The SANFL has received State Government and SA Health approval to start training in three groups of 10.

This includes community leagues around the state.

The Great Southern Football League (GSFL) is one of those and is currently negotiating a pathway back to playing the great winter game. But the Yankalilla Football Club has thrown a spanner in the works by making an early call to pull out of the GSFL 2020 season.

President of the Yankalilla Football Club Bob Williss posted on facebook the news the club committee decided "that playing a half season with restrictions will be a detriment".

"This decision was not made lightly but we feel it is the right one," the post read.

Mr Williss explained that the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and the limited numbers allowed through the gate with no bar or canteen made it difficult for the club to operate.

However, president of the GSFL Terry Corcoran said there was a number of factors that could stop any recommencement of the season.

"Yankalilla have gone a little early, but their decision will not change the timeline the league has in place before making a final decision. We agree with Yankalilla, we need to have supporters (crowds) through the gate. No revenue from the social clubs or canteens would impact on the finances of clubs," Terry said.

"A number of clubs have their canteen located in their licensed areas and with the current restrictions, they would be unable to operate. The other important one, would be if any club was not compliant with the necessary protocols, they would be unable to play at all."

Terry said the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic had effected everyone's way of normal life, as all sports had been affected.

"With the GSFL clubs, the costs of playing football and running a football club has placed abnormal pressures on the volunteers, who are in the positions to ensure the clubs are able to function and cover the costs. This is very challenging," he said.

"For clubs to be expected to get onto the park with no revenue from areas such as the gate, social club or canteen makes it very difficult."

The GSFL has had meetings with the 10 clubs to work and manage a direction back to playing the game, and Terry and the executive of the GSFL have been listening to the concerns of the clubs and the advice from health authorities, the government and SANFL.

"If everything falls into place the expected commencement of the GSFL season will be on Saturday, July 11, playing a revised program from round 10 to the finals. The grand final would be scheduled for Saturday, October 3, at Langhorne Creek," he said.

"The clubs have mixed feelings; they want to play footy, however they are very conscious that they do not want to put at risk any player, supporter or volunteer to the virus, as well as any club to be put into the situation of becoming insolvent.

"They did, however, indicate that if there was to be no senior football this season, they would like the GSFL to look at somehow playing junior football (Modified, Mini Colts and Junior Colts), perhaps in a carnival format of a few weeks in the warmer months, such as late August or early September. This is something we would consider and would also apply to women's football."

The GSFL will remain in constant communication with the SANFL Community Football Board and plan to have further updates.

A further Delegates meeting with the 10 clubs has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 10.

"It will be then when we make a more definite decision on the future of the 2020 GSFL football season."

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