Who will run the water?: How attendance limits could cause headaches for junior football

A cap on how many parents can attend games could have huge ramifications on how junior football operates should the sport return in the coming weeks.

While senior community football leagues around WA continue to weigh up the financial viability of a return, and how costings would work without ticket sales, an attendance limit poses a different problem for the junior ranks.

With entry already free to every game, the youth level relies heavily on the participation of parents who volunteer their time.

Whether it's running the water, cutting up fruit on the sidelines, or stepping in as the goal umpire for the day, the role of the parent is crucial for any junior match.

But clubs will have to find a way to operate without their support should junior football make a return, with an attendance limit a highly likely prospect upon resumption.

"It's hard to see how games will operate week-to-week if you don't have that base of volunteers," North Mandurah Junior Football Club president Tracey Kaciuba said.

"Obviously we want to see the kids playing footy again and clubs will abide by any necessary guidelines they have to just to ensure that happens, but it's going to be difficult.

"Who would be the goal umpire for the day? Who will man the boundary? There are so many little things like that you would have to figure out.

"Money remains an issue for junior clubs as you still need to find a way to pay for the use of ovals and you need to pay to nominate teams but not having that volunteer base around the club is maybe the biggest hurdle a lot will face."

North Mandurah was one of many junior clubs that saw players return to training last week, with the WA government allowing teams to train in groups of 20.

The North Mandurah Junior Football Club's players (pictured here in 2019) were among thousands from across the state to return to training last week. Photo: Facebook.

The North Mandurah Junior Football Club's players (pictured here in 2019) were among thousands from across the state to return to training last week. Photo: Facebook.

Prior to that return the Magpies' coaches all underwent the mandatory infection training course, while the club has been supplying hand sanitiser and wipes for each session.

It's an encouraging step forward, according to Ms Kaciuba.

"It's really good to see the kids back on the oval, even if it's in a limited capacity like this," she said.

"Basically, at our club, we left it up to the coaches as to whether they wanted to start training again because they're the ones who have to go through all the courses and take all the precautions with their teams.

"But so far we've had a fairly positive response with a lot of our teams resuming training.

"It's important these kids get to socialise with their mates and just kick the footy around again.

"It's hard explaining to them we still don't know if they will be able to play this year, but just for their own development it's good to see them back in that club dynamic."

On Friday, the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) shared a new set of guidelines for parents to abide by as their children return to training.

Among those guidelines was ensuring children packed their own water bottle, all footy gear is disinfected after each session and children come dressed ready for training.