COVID-19 Update - Season Suspended till 31 May

I would like to give you a further update on the suspension of the current season due to COVID-19. Late last week, Football Federation Australia (FFA) extended the current suspension of all football activities until 31 May 2020. Football Qld and Football Brisbane then issued a statement that they have suspended the season until 30 June, but is subject to the review by the FFA and if government regulations allow, training will resume once those restrictions are lifted. Football Brisbane has advised that it will require 3 weeks to complete draws and commence the season. At this stage we have been given a provisional start back date of 30 June.


At this point Football Brisbane and their governing bodies are still confident that a season will occur in 2020 and NO decision has yet been made to cancel the 2020 Season.


These are very difficult times for everyone and the current situation is still very fluid with new development daily with respect to controlling the spread, possible vaccines and possible treatments which will all have an impact on how we go about our daily lives and whether restrictions will be lifted.

Myself and the Management Committee of Hawks FC would like to thank all of our members for their patience as we work with Football Brisbane and all other clubs, and we remain united in our commitment to provide a season of football. We appreciate that everyone has been supportive and to date we have only a handful of requests for refunds – more on that later. We know that everyone is keen to get back on the park, and we hope that we get back sooner rather than later.


I can assure you that all clubs are working together and we are meeting with Football Brisbane fortnightly. We are exploring all options with regards to playing football and I will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Unlike many clubs, Mt Gravatt Hawks FC is a VOLUNTEER ONLY run club and this has allowed us to deliver high quality products. Our volunteers have been hit very hard by this health crisis with many either losing their jobs or being temporarily stood down, so I do appreciate your support and patience and we may not always get back to you immediately, but we are tracking all correspondence and ask that members contact us via email – admin@mtgravatthawks.org to ensure that we can attend to your needs. REFUNDS To date we have received only a handful of requests for refunds and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience. I also understand that many of our members have also lost their jobs or are temporarily stood down. At this point in time Football Brisbane is still planning to deliver a 2020 season and are working hard to do so. As such they have advised all clubs that at the moment refunds are not on the agenda. These are unprecedented times and in normal circumstances, members would be protected by consumer law (this would also include the club being protected and in turn us being able to protect your fees), however these are not normal circumstances and Australian Consumer Laws have been adjusted to protect businesses and the Australian economy. I refer you to the latest advice from the Qld Government’s Office of Fair Trading - https://www.qld.gov.au/law/laws-regulated-industries-and-accountability/queensland-laws-and-regulations/fair-trading-services-programs-and-resources/fair-trading-latest-news/disaster-assistance/covid-19#cancelledtravel


I also need to inform you that Football Queensland and Football Brisbane has also altered their Terms and Conditions on refunds and that they are now not only stating that they WILL NOT issue any refunds, they are also stating that any players registered on PlayFootball will result on a liability to pay the FFA/FQ/FB components (this can range from $40/player for in-house up to $198/player for seniors). We DO NOT support these changes to T&Cs and we will do everything in our power to protect our members fees. We will be seeking legal advice should the season be cancelled and we have to go down this path if the governing bodies are insisting on their fees.


In most circumstances, we hold 100% of our member’s fees and those funds are SECURED and will not be touched until there is some clarity, so I want to reassure all members that in most cases your fees are with Mt Gravatt Hawks FC. Until such time we know as to whether the season proceeds or not, and in the event of a cancellation, how the governing bodies will deal with refunds, we will not be able to process any requests for refunds. I ask for your continued patience whilst a decision is made with respect to the season.


Should we get to the point where the season is no longer viable and is cancelled, then we will put in place a program for a REFUND which would take into consideration operational costs incurred by the club. There will also then be an option offered to leave the fees as a CREDIT with the club for the 2021 Season. The exact details of this will be confirmed if and when we reach that point, although we are hopeful that it won’t come to that.


To put a positive slant on all of this, just be mindful that our collective goal is to get back on the park doing what we and our kids love and that is playing football. We are also mindful that throughout this crisis we as a community need to ensure that we have a financially viable club at the other end of all of this, so we can all enjoy the greatest sport of all for many years to come. .

Your Committee is working hard to ensure we achieve this and we thank you for your support and patience through this difficult time. When messaging the club please keep in mind that the committee are all volunteers going through the same battles as everyone else at the moment so you may not get a response as timely as you would like.


And I’d like reassure everyone that your fees are secure and that in the event of a cancellation that you will be compensated and our current position of NO REFUNDS is only temporary until we have a better understanding of:

  1. The outcome for the season and

  2. The position that FFA/FQ/FB will adopt on association fees

In the mean time we hope everyone stays safe and well, and don’t forget to practice your ball skills in the back yard!


Regards,

Mark Brittain

President

Mt Gravatt Hawks FC