After more than one month on the sidelines due to the extended COVID-19 lockdown, Football NSW on Wednesday made the decision to cancel the seasons of both Southern Branch Inc and the South East Phoenix.
Both South Coast-based clubs have had their respective National Premier League Two and Association Youth League competitions suspended since June 26, and with no end in sight for the Greater Sydney lockdown, Football NSW announced their decision, following a board meeting.
"The board met to discuss the ongoing status of the 2021 Football NSW competitions and consider whether or not a resumption of activities remained feasible," FNSW head of competitions Troy McColl said.
"With this communication, I wish to inform you the board has, unfortunately, made the difficult decision to cancel all Football NSW competitions for the remainder of the 2021 season.
"Given the current public health order will remain in force until at least midnight August 28, our discussions and briefings with various government agencies over recent days, the daily updates from the premier, the minister for health and the chief medical officer, and understandably, there being no government-sanctioned roadmap out of the lockdown for sport, the board was left with no option but to cancel our competitions.
"This decision is consistent with those made recently by many of our associations and by many other state sporting organisations."
This is a disappointing outcome for both Ison Park-based clubs, who were both enjoying strong 2021 campaigns and had been keeping their skills sharp with regular practice matches.
"In this position, at the forefront of the board's decision was our collective obligation to provide our stakeholders with a safe environment within which to train, play and participate in our game," McColl said.
"The NSW government's health advice, particularly with the current state of daily infections and vaccination rates, made it difficult to provide that environment in the immediate future.
"Further, given the length of the suspension that has already occurred and the ongoing uncertainty about how long the situation will last, the board considers that it will not be possible or practicable to complete the 2021 competitions' remaining matches as scheduled or at all."
FNSW also announced no premiers or champions titles, trophies, medals or prize money will be awarded for any of the 2021 NSW competitions and that planning is already underway for the 2022 season.