Letter from North West Sydney Football on Impacts of Wet Weather

Letter from North West Sydney Football on Impacts of Continuing Wet Weather

Well what a past three years we have had......  With the grassroots football community finally being let loose again after two years of Covid effected seasons, we have certainly been hit with some amazingly tumultuous wet weather.

We thank the Football Community for its patience, however thin, in riding the wave of wet weather we are all currently experiencing.  NWSF and its 34 member Clubs have been making every effort to provide the best experience possible only to be washed aside by the significant levels of heavy rain over the past three months.

NWSF aims to provide a space for the community to play football when it is available.  We do so in conjunction with our 5 local Councils who are also experiencing significant disruptions to regular operations.

While it is not possible for any of us to stop the rain and remedy the waterlogged fields, we certainly share your frustrations and hope by explaining some of our procedures and factors that shape the decisions, you will have a better understanding of the factors and challenges faced.

On a regular weekend

  • Each week, NWSF works with its 5 LGAs to determine the status and playability of the grass fields by 2pm each Friday.  This involves dialogue with Council staff throughout the day to allow the NWSF staff to start preparing for any changes each weekend.

  • NWSF then looks at available grounds to maximize the number of matches that can be played across Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

  • Changes are then made to the draws and notifications sent to players (through Dribl), the Clubs and the Referees.

  • If rain occurs after Council, the NWSF and Clubs have made their decision, further decisions are made as required to mitigate each circumstance arising.  There are weather forecasts that may or may not prevail and every chance is given to have games go ahead.  This can mean, that publication of changes can happen at the last minute and flexibility is called for.  This is balanced by predicting some inevitable decisions that grounds will be out in an endeavor to not disrupt the 16500 participants and associated volunteers across the region.  The balance is fine and each circumstance has its challenges.

  • Clubs also have the option to close grounds if they believe they are unfit for play and this does happen regularly.

  • The referee also has the right and responsibility to postpone a match or abandon midway through if the field becomes dangerous or unfit for play.

  • Currently the association has 652 games to schedule each weekend – this includes 508 mixed games over Saturday / Sunday and 144 female games on Sundays.

 

 

Moving forward

Decisions around wet weather presents it challenges leading into each weekend.  Providing a balance between the fairness and integrity of each individual competition along with providing opportunities for noncompetitive fixture are all considerations that we have evaluated. We are mindful this is community football and all participants pay to participate and should be given equal opportunities to play.

  • We are continuing to track the composition of each competitive and non-competitive age division in order to attempt to provide transparency for all competitions to have a fair share of game time. Please see the current tracking in the excel file attached which we are happy to continue to provide transparency on as the season progresses.

  • Our “wiggle room” when grounds get closed is very small and it only takes a couple grounds to be washed out and we cannot complete all games as we have very few spare spaces to move washed out games to. Additionally, our ability to replay washed out games in subsequent weekends is becoming increasingly challenging as we have already filled up those few spare grounds we have for future weekends with the already washed-out games, and have also scheduled many non-traditional mid-week fixtures for the coming weeks, all in an effort to help us catch up games as best we can.

  • For the 2022 season, please note that going forward, NWSF is also looking at ways to extend the season and alter finals structures to maximize the number of games we can play competitive and non-competitive fixtures across all age divisions. Clubs and players are encouraged to be accommodating of more flexible scheduling of games and potential non-traditional days and game times as we seek to ensure as many games as possible can be played.

  • We have had numerous questions regarding our limited synthetic fields which allow play in all weather and rest assured we are fully utilising these grounds to the maximum of our ability. We want to call out the clubs that call these their home grounds as they have shown a significant commitment to help our association play as many games as possible, regularly giving up training nights, and setting up and packing down their grounds, providing ground marshalls, running canteens etc on days when in many cases none of their own club teams have been scheduled to play.

Please understand we share your frustration and are doing everything we can to get as many games played as possible.

 

Jeremy Toivonen

Chief Executive Officer

North West Sydney Football

26 May 2022

Chart showing intended wet weather re-scheduling for all Age Groups