Media Release withdrawal from MPNFL 2020 Football Season

11 June 2020
Chelsea Football Netball Club has today advised AFL South East (AFLSE) Chief Operating Officer Shaun Connell of its decision to withdraw its senior football teams from the 2020 Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League (MPNFL) season.
After lengthy consultation with its board, members, and players, Chelsea FNC has decided to withdraw its football department immediately – including seniors, reserves and under 19s. 
The decision – at this point - excludes netball, which may be able to run to separate timelines and commence later in the year. Chelsea will apply the same criteria to football – see below - when determining its involvement in the start of a netball season.
Three criteria were put in place to determine the viability of a commencement of the 2020 season.
Player Welfare
A survey of the football playing group was taken with 68 percent of players concerned about their personal health and wellbeing if games commenced. 70 percent of the playing group voted to cancel the season and recommence training for the 2021 season in October-November this year. 
Approximately 20 percent of the playing group have been displaced from their regular employment.
Member and Volunteer Welfare 
At this point Chelsea FNC cannot guarantee the safety of its members or volunteers as it does not know as yet the hygiene criteria to host or participate in football. The other component is the level of stress being felt by coaches, board members and volunteers that it is simply unsustainable.
Financial sustainability
The Chelsea FNC board has completed a comprehensive analysis and determined the season unviable, with 85 percent of its sponsors forced to close or be severely impacted by COVID19. The club currently does not have any indication on when it can use its facilities – being currently banned from entering its facilities for any use. 
Chelsea FNC president Michael Davis said it was a tough decision to withdraw from the 2020 season, but the club’s best interest was at heart. 
“The decision to withdraw from the season has not been taken lightly, but we believe it is in the best interest of the club and our members,” Davis said.
“With over 110 years of history we need to ensure that we are here for our members for many more years to come. Season 2020 was going to be a great year for the club with outstanding recruitment along with laser sharp commitment from our historical playing group.
“Our resolve for success will only become greater as we begin to plan for season 2021. We look forward to re-engaging with our community once we can do this in line with government and local council guidelines.”
Davis acknowledged the club supporters and the MPNFL administration for its support of the decision. 
“I would like to personally thank all of our sponsors, partners and members who are doing it tough right now for their ongoing support,” he said.
“As a community, we need to get behind these people and partners and ensure that we are able to get through the challenges faced from the COVID19 lockdown. The league has been supportive of our position and are understanding of the challenges currently facing clubs and we support their endeavours moving forward.”
Despite Chelsea’s withdrawal, Connell said AFLSE would continue to work with MPNFL clubs on options for a possible start to the season.
“We fully respect the right of the Chelsea Football Netball Club Board to make considered decisions based on what it feels is right for its members, and its short and long term sustainability,” Connell said.
“And while we fully respect that decision, we will continue to work with the remainder of MPNFL and AFL South East clubs who over the past few weeks have seen strong numbers return to training in a positive first step in returning to competitive sport across the region.  
“Our consistent approach during these unique and challenging times has been to take advice from Federal and State Government, our sporting bodies – AFL Victoria/Netball Victoria – and to work collaboratively with our clubs to ensure the best path forward.
“This will remain our approach, as we are fully aware of the importance of a safe environment for all participants involved and the ongoing sustainability of our clubs.”
Connell and Head of AFL South East Richard Black met with the 22 MPNFL clubs on Wednesday, June 3, where the clubs confirmed to maintain their position to review the status of the 2020 MPNFL football/netball season with the clubs following the update from the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – on Sunday, June 21.
The clubs will convene following the announcement from the State Premier to consider their position.

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