As New South Wales continues to navigate through the evolving nature of COVID-19, Football NSW has endeavoured to take the necessary steps to stabilise the game and make the required adjustments to ensure football remains in a strong position to recover.
With the continued easing of NSW Government restrictions, the Football NSW Board has approved a Safe Workplace (COVID-19) Policy for Valentine Sports Park (VSP) (Policy) in an effort to promote the resumption of football and reconnection of our communities, comply with work health and safety obligations, and to ensure a safe environment for all involved in the game.
The key aspects of the Policy are summarised below.
Effective immediately and notwithstanding any changes that may shortly be made to Public Health Orders, Football NSW requires the following persons be fully vaccinated, unless they have been granted an exemption by Football NSW in accordance with the Policy (including for medical reasons), and to use a QR code when entering the premises for contact tracing purposes:
· all Football NSW staff, including all office staff, casuals and Football NSW coaching staff, who are working for Football NSW other than at their place of residence; and
· all visitors over the age of 16 attending the indoor areas of VSP – including people attending meetings, tradespeople, hirers, users of the futsal court and patrons of the gymnasium, café and pool. NOTE: the changerooms below the VSP grandstand and the toilets on the concourse are not considered indoor areas for the purposes of the Policy.
Unless acceptable evidence of vaccination is shown to Football NSW, admission to these areas will be refused.
In line with community standards, Football NSW will continue to align its position with regards to outdoor activities with that of the NSW Government. To that end, the following groups are encouraged but not required to be fully vaccinated:
· players, coaches, match officials and spectators in competitions directly controlled by Football NSW (for example, the NPL and Football NSW Leagues); and
· visitors to VSP, who are in attendance only to participate in, or spectate at, an outdoor event (for example, football matches and training sessions).
For the time being, these groups will continue to be asked to use a QR code when entering VSP for contact tracing purposes.
It is not the purpose of the Policy to dictate what steps Associations and Clubs participating in the NPL or in the Football NSW Leagues should take and these entities should determine what is most appropriate for their particular circumstances. They must, however, ensure compliance is maintained with prevailing Public Health Orders and with any directions issued by Local Council over the use of fields (where relevant).
For those Football NSW stakeholders to whom the Policy does not apply, Football NSW recommends the implementation of similar risk management strategies to those employed during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, including:
· asking participants to self-isolate if they feel unwell;
· not allowing a participant who tests positive for COVID-19 to return to football until receiving permission to do so from the health authorities;
· non-sharing of drink bottles;
· encouraging the dispersal of spectators;
· staggering the arrival and departure times of teams at grounds;
· promoting and providing hand-washing guidance;
· encouraging the provision of regularly refilled sanitisers within venues; and
· regular cleaning of change rooms.
Given the ever-changing nature of COVID-19, Football NSW will regularly review the Policy and reserves the right to amend it as and when required.