The NZAFF Board (myself, Brendan, Andrew and Kurt) and Russell hope all our members, friends, and families are staying safe in these crazy times. It's hard to comprehend how the world has changed over the past couple of months, and the challenges facing our country and communities are huge and likely to continue for a long time yet.
With everything on currently sport feels like a fairly low priority, but as a Board we have continued to engage over the past 2 months in our Board meetings and try to digest the information as things evolve and plan ahead. With things changing every week its almost impossible to "plan" as we simply don't know what the future "normal" is going to look like, but we are doing our best to work through some contingency plans to prepare as best we can.
Over the past month Russell has worked on compiling our half year report which we committed to supply as a "progress update" including how we are tracking against budgets. I typically would summarise this in my email but will focus on COVID19 impacts this time, but please do give it a read HERE. As always, all feedback (good, bad or otherwise) is welcome.
4 weeks ago based on the information we had at hand we made the call to postpone the Flag Football Nationals, at the time it was still a tough decision and we were actually contemplating still running the event but what quickly escalated has seen almost all forms of sport cancelled all around the world.
As a sport we have been somewhat fortunate that the recent events have occurred during our offseason, and that our primary funding line via the TAB / NFL hasn't been impacted as of yet, but impacts on our sport are inevitable.
As a Board, since my time we have been conservative with spend as felt we needed to have a contingency fund to allow NZAFF to continue if we experienced a cut in funding, so we are lucky in the sense that we have some decent cash reserves, but we are definitely looking to the future with a lot of uncertainty.
It is too early to know what the true impact will be on sport in general and the game we love here in New Zealand, but what we do know is that things are unlikely to be "the same" for a long time. Sport NZ has recently released this update with guidance on play, recreation and sport across all Alert Levels 1-4.
What looks pretty clear is that at Alert Level 3 all non-contact and contact sport outside of your bubble is not a goer, but beyond that is still being worked on. It looks like non-contact at Level 2 is OK which means our increasing focus on Flag Football is even more important, but we are watching closely what impacts may be on contact.
For our sport specifically, the sharing of equipment between players is still very common given the high cost of it and low personal ownership, so this is an example of what could be strongly impacted by the ongoing fallout of COVID-19. Keeping our Players safe is a critical part of our role, so we will have a whole new element to account for now in this respect.
We have also agreed as a Board to waive invoicing / charging any Player fees for the current season, whilst these Fees do not amount to a lot every dollar is going to count for our Clubs as we navigate the current uncertainty. We do request however that a full membership list is still provided prior to the AGM by each Club to qualify as a “Financial” member with full voting rights, as this is an important part of our reporting.
That's all from me for now, but we will keep in touch and give another update in a month or so when we are hopefully a bit clearer on the ongoing impacts. For now though, please stay safe and our thoughts are with our football community and your families at the moment.