Queensland’s peak sporting body is calling on parents to support local sports clubs 'running on the smell of an oily rag' to reopen amid COVID safe plans.
Queensland’s peak sporting body is calling on parents to support local sports clubs 'running on the smell of an oily rag' to reopen amid COVID safe plans.

‘We’re very concerned about the survival of some clubs’

QUEENSLAND'S peak sporting body is calling on parents to support clubs "running on the smell of an oily rag" as codes try to get their head around complex and strict COVID safe plans.

"It's absolutely critical that we get kids back into sport this year, because many clubs are already on a knife's edge," said Alison Lyons, chairwoman of QSports field team sport group.

"We've already seen a drop in youths and teenagers in sport before coronavirus and for people to think that kids sports doesn't matter and that we'll give it a miss this year is absolutely devastating,"

"We're very concerned about the survival of some sports club, most already running on the smell on an oily rag, and whether they'll even return next year unless parents throw their support around them."

Coast kids are excited to be back on the sports fields. Picture: Jerad Williams
Coast kids are excited to be back on the sports fields. Picture: Jerad Williams

Ms Lyons, who is also Hockey Queensland's chief executive, worked with QSports colleagues to create a 40-page industry COVID safe plan to guide Gold Coast clubs on getting kids back into sport during Stage 2 restrictions.

"Club can have multiple groups of 20 on fields, depending on the size of the pitches or fields, but no groups can mingle and there needs to be clearly buffer zones of five metres between each zone. There must also be different exit and entry points and staggered training times."

Despite kids being allowed to play together freely at school, before clubs can welcome them back on playing fields, they must tick-off a four-page COIVD safe plan checklist with 65 requirements.

Handshakes, hive fives, huddles, tackling and celebrations are banned, and clubs must reduce the sharing of balls and equipment, and set up cleaning protocols or restrict the use of shared balls. No spitting or clearing of nasal or respiratory secretions on the field of play is allowed and players must be told to practise good hygiene and be discouraged from touching their faces.

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Club must also provide ample handwashing and sanitising stations, shut or limit the use of changing sheds, clean high-touch surfaces hourly and remove seating or space it to 1.5m. They must also mark-up railings and grounds to encourage social distancing, install physical barriers and maintain an attendance record of everyone taking part for 56 days.

Surfers Paradise ALF Club's junior president Nick Phelan said training would resume on Monday with three lots of 20 allowed on the oval at staggered times.

"It's going to be a lot like herding cats but it's good to get kids back outside and playing footy until restrictions lift. It'll just be about drills and skills and mainly do our best to keep kids away from each other, it's going to be a challenge," he said.

Mitchell Keeble, 11, Lucy Proctor, 9, and Hudson Keeble, 13.. Picture: Jerad Williams
Mitchell Keeble, 11, Lucy Proctor, 9, and Hudson Keeble, 13.. Picture: Jerad Williams

"Finances are a big issue, clubs like ours are the meat in the sandwich and we live from year to year. But AFL have put down a season and we'll do our best to meet our obligations for our families."

Gold Coast Hockey Centre's facilities manager Peter Keeble said players were crying out to get outdoors, with many grades excited to get back on the field.

"We have in excess of 1000 players and a lot of have gone into hibernation so we're really hoping once training comes back next week we'll have a good turn out."

Helensvale Netball Club coach Ann de Losh said she was happy netball could resume with 20 players on a court, with every second court empty. But she's daunted at the prospect of teaching during COVID-19 restrictions.

"I'm going to have to teach them to play netball without incorporating netball, so it'll just be a drills, fitness and a lot of lobs. It's also going to be challenging for the players," she said.

Originally published as 'We're very concerned about survival of some clubs'