JOINT STATEMENT FROM QUEENSLAND TOUCH FOOTBALL AND NEW SOUTH WALES TOUCH ASSOCIATION
After careful consideration and consultation between the New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) and Queensland Touch Football (QTF) along with the host venue and Coffs Harbour City Council, we can confirm the 2020 State of Origin will be postponed into the first half of 2021.
As previously advised, the NSWTA and QTF in collaboration with Coffs Harbour City Council, unanimously agreed to postpone the 2020 State of Origin due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve taken the time to monitor and assess the current global situation and with the current level of restrictions across both jurisdictions and an extremely heavy timetable in the second half the year, the 2021 date will enable the 2020 State of Origin event to proceed with certainty” – said Dean Russell, NSWTA General Manager.
The State of Origin will be held Friday 18 – Saturday 19 June 2021 and will remain at C.ex International Stadium, Coffs Harbour. This will see the event back to back in 2021 and 2022 before returning to its normal two-year cycle in 2024.
As host city for the State or Origin, Coffs Harbour looks forward to welcoming players from New South Wales and Queensland to the beautiful Coffs Coast now in 2021. Under the current circumstances the decision to move to 2021 is a sensible one, of which we fully support” said Daniel Heather, Council’s Section Leader for Stadium and Major Events.
Both parties believe that this is the most responsible and best decision for the sport. “During this time, we have a responsibility to ensure the recovery of our sport is focussed at the grassroots level and this means that the 2020 summer season is already heavily congested for both states with events and localised competitions” said Corey Bell, QTF CEO.
NSWTA and QTF recognise that many of its members have been or are currently undergoing hardship as a result of COVID-19 and believe it would also be unfair and irresponsible to add additional financial burdens to its members, many of whom are currently laid off from work or on reduced hours and salaries.
Both parties anticipate that this timeline will allow members (and the sport) adequate opportunity to recover and ensure that this significant event on the touch football calendar can be played in the appropriate environment, ensuring the most absolute elite level with the quality of player who deserves to participate at this level. This timeline, however, will still be heavily dependent on a continual flattening of the curve within the community before we can return to normality following this pandemic.
NSWTA & QTF will independently advise their members with further communication very soon surrounding current squads and future selections for the postponed 2020 State of Origin event. Both parties however were eager to find a silver lining in amongst a challenging and unique time for all. It was agreed that no player should be disadvantage due to a one in a hundred year event and therefore given the uniqueness of what we are currently facing, the age eligibility will remain as it currently stands in 2020 for the 2020 State of Origin that will be run in the first half of 2021.