Northern Inland Football clubs will be allowed to return to the training paddock from May 27, Northern NSW Football announced on Friday.
NNSWF has released its return to training guidelines that will underpin the return to training, with these guidelines developed over time in conjunction with working groups from each facet of the game.
NNSWF CEO David Eland said the guidelines have been distributed to all clubs and each club is now working with their local zones and councils to resume training when they are able.
"We understand that not all clubs will return to training at the same time. There will be a staggered effect throughout the region due to individual council requirements and communication with players and participants. However, we hope to see the vast majority back to training by early to mid June," Eland said.
The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in the suspension of all football activities since March. Since this time, NNSWF's priority has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the community and to undertake its social responsibility to do everything it can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"Given that football is played outdoors the risk of infection is minimal and with the rate of infection greatly reduced, it is time to cautiously reintroduce football related activity in a staged approach," Eland said.
For the return to training on May 27, clubs and players will need to strictly adhere to the NSW Public Health Order. NNSWF has developed its Return to Training - Level 1 Portal to assist clubs in doing so.
The guidelines recommend training to be conducted in small groups of no more than 10 players and personnel, social distancing of 1.5 metres between players, non-contact skill training drills, minimal sharing of sporting equipment and no contact including tackling.
Eland was ecstatic to get kids and players back on the pitch but said the responsibility is with players and clubs to continue good hygiene and practice social distancing in the hope competitions may return to playing in early July.
"Football Federation Australia have authorised member federations to determine when the suspension of football is lifted in their respective jurisdictions," he said.
"NNSWF will commit to resuming football as soon as possible but only once it has been approved by relevant government authorities."