Northern NSW Football is a step closer after it announced that return to training will be permitted from Wednesday, May 27.
NNSWF - which encompasses the locals competitions - has released its Return to Training Guidelines that will underpin the return to training.
David Eland, CEO Northern NSW Football, 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. It will be staggered 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.
"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, said Eland.
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 is 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 of a return to playing in early July.