South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South Melbourne FC returns to football

South Melbourne FC returns to football

To the SMFC Family,

2020 has been a challenging year to date, as we continue to face the unprecedented situation that has arisen due to the threat of Covid-19. We have been unable to meet our commitment of regular members forums & cancelled a South in Business event with 300 confirmed attendees, which included many new potential corporate partners.

I would like to thank the entire SMFC family, including members, players, sponsors, supporters and the wider football community for their patience regarding this matter.

Many would have seen announcements from Football Victoria or heard about some matters surrounding the safe return of football for the 2020 season. Just like each club in the state and around the globe, SMFC has not been immune from a vast array of issues directly associated with Covid-19.

Our Board has worked proactively through this period and considered a range of options for what we feel works best not only for our football club but for the game as a whole. The physical and mental health and wellbeing of our players, coaches and staff has been our priority. This together with the broader impact on the club, its members and supporters has seen the need to carefully balance and evaluate the implications of resuming football in 2020 or deferring competitive fixtures well into the new year.
Our primary purpose of SMFC as a football club is to play football, it is fundamentally why we exist, our DNA.  It is for this reason that we fully endorse the return of competitive football in Victoria as soon as possible and the resumption of the 2020 season. We owe this to our players, coaches, their families and of course, as a members-based football club, our members and supporters.   

We are working with Lakeside Stadium, Parks Victoria and Councils to share our training plans and resume training as soon as practical. This includes all NPL Juniors (both boys and girls), Miniroos and our NPL Senior Program (which includes Senior Men & Women, Under 20s, Under 19s and Under 18s).

The club welcomes the announcement yesterday by Football Victoria on proposed target dates for the resumption of competitive football. This is exciting news and with the anticipated easing of restrictions by the State Government we could once again be on the pitch a month from now.

Football Victoria is planning for the Senior Women’s football to resume in late June or early July with the potential for a reduced season fixture. Our Women’s football department is planning for this with the squad looking forward to getting on pitch and playing competitive football.

Football Victoria is hopeful for Senior Men’s football to resume in July but acknowledges there are a number of complexities to be worked through. The Club has been involved in a series of meetings of key stakeholders including Football Victoria, the AAFC and fellow NPL Victoria clubs. While some clubs have been apprehensive about resuming football, we are fully committed about completing the 2020 season. We have outlined this position on numerous occasions in our meetings to date. We continue to work with all stakeholders to assist Football Victoria in developing a framework under which every club can play, prosper & manage their own affairs with however an underlying level of protection.

Some of the considerations we have canvassed at these meetings include the following:

  • Continued streaming of all NPL Men’s and matches. This could extend to NPL 2 and NPL 3.
  • Clear guidelines to be developed by Football Victoria for return to play scenarios, including appropriate risk management for all participants. This has already been done for training purposes.
  • No relegation from any of the NPL leagues which will allow clubs who can no longer field a strong squad to promote young footballers without the fear of being relegated.
  • We are open to the concept of Promotion from NPL 2 and NPL 3 to remain, continuing to embrace aspirational football and provide any club to strive to be the best it can be. 
  • Ability for all clubs to fairly renegotiate player payments due to reduced revenue from gate takings, canteen and sponsorship revenue.
  • We are flexible regarding transfer periods.
  • Reduction in participation fees & other costs controlled by the Federation to assist clubs maintain their cash flow during this period.
  • Any other Government support 

In an era of uncertainty and high anxiety, football can play a key role in assisting society to rebuild. Football brings joy to many people around the globe and our club is no different. While we strongly believe that football will return with our members being able to attend matches later in the year, we are also committed to bringing the games direct to our fans through the Football Victoria live streaming services and our very own SMFC TV media team, just as we have done for the past decade. 

Further to this, SMFC will be holding its own members forum in June once the second phase of restrictions are lifted and an appropriate number of members are allowed to be seated in the 1959 Bar and Grill.

As a club, our intention is to resume training over the next week, with our Senior Men’s team to start on the weekend and our Senior Women’s and juniors to follow in the coming weeks. The club will continue to keep up its correspondence with all of our key stakeholders over the next few weeks as football returns.

Yours in Football

Nicholas Maikousis
SMFC President

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