Sources said AFL financial support is likely to be necessary for the competition to resume but the eight clubs have been in weekly dialogue with the league and understand why it has been impossible for it to commit to anything up until this point with the AFL restart a priority.
Each of the five standalone clubs – Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Werribee and Williamstown – have agreed not to change the lists they had going into the 2020 season if games resume, while the aligned clubs would need to recruit, with AFL-listed players now banned from playing state league football in 2020 because of their tight restart protocols.
Players who have signed with the AFL-affiliated VFL clubs but are not on a list might be able to join those clubs although those details have not been discussed. Several former AFL players such as Aidyn Johnson, Jordan Cunico, Lukas Webb, Angus Hanrahan and Riley Bowman having signed up to play VFL with AFL-affiliated clubs in 2020.
Some standalone clubs also fear players might attempt to join local competitions if they are playing and the VFL doesn’t while there is also fear that SANFL clubs may attempt to poach VFL players as that competition looks set to resume with state government support.
The VFL clubs are also expected to look at what state government support might be available under the package to support community sport that was announced last week. Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas is the member for Werribee and the Minister for Sport Martin Pakula is a strong advocate for community football.
On Saturday AFL Victoria told all affiliated clubs they could begin club sanctioned training in groups of 10 with a letter from Stephen O’Donohue, the head of community football Victoria, stating that “in the event of further easing of restrictions, we hope to be able to return to full training and competition later in the year, with hygiene and safety protocols firmly in place”.