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The South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) is closely examining and monitoring the ongoing situation with Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in relation to the SMJFL.

The SMJFL’s main priority is the safety and wellbeing of all members of the league. The league will take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its clubs and their members under all circumstances.

The league is addressing all aspects of the league, from events to fixtures, in relation to COVID-19. At this stage, the 2020 SMJFL season will continue as planned. The league is currently reviewing its options regarding upcoming events and gatherings and will provide an update as soon as the league has finalised our plans.

The league is continuing to liaise with the relevant government health agencies and the AFL. The SMJFL will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to stakeholders as they arise.

Detailed below are some practical measures to minimise any potential exposure and disruption to our competitions.

General Practices

The current understanding is that COVID‐19 is spread from person‐to‐person when people are in close contact or when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing the virus into the air as droplets. These droplets can then enter another person’s mouth or nose or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Infection may also be spread by touching a surface contaminated with COVID‐19 then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Symptoms of COVID‐19 infection typically begin 2‐14 days after exposure and include fever, fatigue, muscle aches and cough. More severe symptoms include diarrhea, difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

If you have not been in an area where COVID‐19 is spreading or been in close contact with someone who has and is now infected, your chances of getting COVID‐19 are currently low. However, it’s understandable that people may feel anxious about the situation.

The precautions outlined below are recommended to limit your exposure and prevent the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitiser;
  • Cover your mouth to cough or sneeze using flexed elbow or tissue; and
  • Dispose of used tissues in an enclosed bin.

Overseas Travel

If you or a club patron have returned from international travel or a known area in which COVID-19 has spread in the last 14 days, you will need to follow the government’s advice, found here and/or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1800 675 398.

While the league appreciates overseas travel is often planned many months in advance, the current medical advice is to reconsider non-essential travel. Up-to-date travel advice can be found at www.smarttraveller.gov.au.

Club responsibilities

The league asks that club officials:

  • Inform players, coaches and volunteers who are feeling unwell to avoid training, events and games until they have been given clearance by their doctors;
  • Ensure you are educating your club members regarding your club requirements relating to attendance and non-attendance at trainings, game days and club functions. (eg. Players to advise coaches of absences);
  • Take responsibility to educate club members about general hygiene practices. The SMJFL has provided some resources and posters to clubs to display in club rooms and facilities, to post on social media, and to send to club members at the end of this document;
  • Clean any surfaces that are of regular use in your clubrooms and any other items that maybe be shared (ie. Water bottle carriers, footballs) both before and after games and training sessions. This may be best delegated using a roster to allocate club officials to specific trainings and game days to ensure this is completed;
  • Discontinue the club’s use of shared water bottles;
  • Ensure soap dispensers are always installed, full and available wherever sinks are located; Ensure hand sanitiser is readily available around club facilities;
  • Prepare your club’s own risk assessment of their venues and practices in relation to COVID-19; and
  • Discuss any concerns with your local council.

Player and umpire responsibilities

The league asks that all players, umpires and coaches bring their own resources on game day and training sessions and avoid sharing in all circumstances. These resources may include:

  • Towels – do not share towels and regularly clean to keep free of bacteria;
  • Water bottles – make sure you label your own bottles and do not share with other people;
  • Lollies and fruit – do not reach into shared containers (bring your own);
  • Hand sanitiser – sanitise your hands thoroughly before and after games and training; and
  • Mouthguards – we ask that all players using a mouthguard sterilise their mouthguards before and after use. This is best done with cold soapy water (hand soap or detergent) and by using a clean, toothpaste-free toothbrush.

The league asks that all players and umpires thoroughly wash their hands before and after training, events and games.

The league also asks for players to refrain from spitting at any point during trainings, events and games.

Umpire whistles

The league asks that SMJFL umpires take great care in their hygiene to avoid the transmission of bacteria by following these guidelines:

  • Do not share whistles and always bring your own to training; and
  • Always sterilise your whistles in boiling water or in antiseptic mouthwash for 30-60 minutes before/after games and training

Interpersonal contact

Although football is a physical contact sport, the league encourages clubs to do their best to minimise physical contact where possible.

  • No hi-fives;
  • No hugging;
  • No patting on the back; and
  • Minimising contact and touching of your face and mouth.

Further action

  • For up-to-date information and advice on hygiene practices, please visit the Australian Government’s Department of Health.
  • If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
  • If you have a confirmed case at your club, please instruct club members to follow the advice of their local health professionals and notify the league via this form as soon as possible.

Trusted resources

These resources can be downloaded and printed to be displayed around club facilities, distributed to club patrons, or posted on social media. These resources will be available on the SMJFL website.

World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 fact sheet

WHO Wash your hands infographic

WHO Wash your hands infographic 2

WHO Protect others from getting sick infographic

WHO Protect others from getting sick infographic 2

WHO Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak

WHO Practise food safety

WHO Practise food safety – Safe meat consumption

For more WHO resources, click here.