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Stage 3 Protocols - Return to Play

Great news for AFL football with the announcement of the 'Final Covid Safe Industry Plan For Field Sports' return to play stage 3 protocols. Here is the summary of key changes for Clubs, players, Coaches, volunteers and parents, as easing restrictions come a week early allowing all clubs to get ready for the 2020 season.

SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES (from July 4, 2020)

  • Competition & Games can now commence

  • Contact training and match simulation can commence

  • Increased numbers permitted on ovals

  • Canteen food service available on game days

  • Spectators are permitted to attend matches with social distancing measures in place

  • Restricted access to change rooms



Full contact is permitted on the field of play similar to pre-covid contact activities. At all other times, participants, coaches, officials, and spectators are to observe social distancing requirements.


The total number of people to attend training, competition and events is to be based on the social distancing standard of one person per four-square meters. Group segmentation and buffer zones will be used to limit co-mingling. Risks will also be managed through mandatory record keeping, which could include the use of technology 9e.g. movement tracking apps, ticket purchasing)

Stage 3 changes now in place

  • Clubs / teams strictly adhere to current State Government restrictions

  • All Hygiene protocols remain in place, with hand sanitiser, equipment & ball sanitising to be ongoing.

  • Full training activities to resume from now, including contact activities (i.e. tackling, bumping, marking contests) Teams are no longer restricted to 20 people, full teams can now train with full coaching staff. (no spectators or parents on field) Teams cannot train with other teams and must stay in a buffer zone.

  • Limit the coming together of players and Coaches in tight huddles during training and quarter breaks in games.

  • Access to change rooms permitted for Senior / Youth teams only, with appropriate social distancing, sanitising of surfaces and no more than 1 person per 2sqm at any given time. (Change rooms will not be available at Southport Sharks for any training purposes, as the rooms need to be sanitised constantly) Access on game days will be limited to players, Coaches, team managers, and trainers - no spectators or parents. Auskick and juniors from U8 to U11 boys will not be permitted to use change rooms this season.

  • BYO Water Bottle - Water runners will be now be allowed. Players must clearly mark their name and jumper number on their water bottles. Water runners will use water carries and wear gloves to handle water bottles. No sharing of water bottles at any time.

  • Youth Teams will NOT have a team runner in 2020.

  • No shared food or drinks (i.e. lollies, fruit, sandwiches, water bottles) to be made available. Strictly no sharing of towels.

  • A log, or register, of all participants at each training session and game must be maintained and available upon request by either AFLQ or health authorities

  • No high fives, handshakes or unnecessary contact.

  • Parents or caregivers must remain socially distant to athletes.

  • Parents and spectators must remain behind the boundary line and not enter the field of play at any time pre, during or post matches / training. Coaching boxes will also remain out of bounds for anyone not registered to the team.

  • Parents can leave their cars and move around the venue maintaining a 1.5 metre social distancing spacing.

  • Umpires will have sanitised Sherrin game balls at the start of each game and have the use of umpire rooms.

  • Goal post pads will be sanitised before game day starts.

  • Minimum 15 minutes between games with up to 25 minutes

  • Games and training will run through the school holiday periods.

  • There will be No E-POINTS system in 2020, standard ladders and points will resume as per past 100 plus years !

Well, there it is, we finally made it to stage 3 and where on our way to getting Round 1 of the 2020 season underway, starting this week with Footy4Fun (U8 to U11) starting this Saturday the 11th of July. Coaches and Team Managers will meet this week to discuss all the protocols and to get ready for our return to play.

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