SANFL has announced that there will be no player payments in Community Football leagues across the state for season 2020 to assist with a viable return to play for all clubs.
The decision by SANFL Community Football and the SA Football Commission to reduce the Player Payment Salary Cap to $0 follows extensive consultation with affiliated leagues and clubs.
The Community Football Player Payment Salary Cap, introduced by SANFL in 2016, had limited clubs to no more than $3500 per match in all regional leagues and no more than $3000 per match in the metropolitan Adelaide Footy League.
SANFL Head of Community Football Tom Hurley said feedback from the consultation process revealed a significant majority of leagues and clubs were in favour of abolishing player payments in 2020.
Mr Hurley said it was expected the decision to abolish player payments would give clubs and leagues more clarity before making a decision about their 2020 season.
Existing regulations on travel allowances will remain to support regional clubs with travelling players. After Match Awards also will continue to be permitted.
After match awards are up to $600 and travel allowance is 30 cents a kilometre.
President of the Great Southern Football League Terry Corcoran said he welcomed the decision from the SANFL.
"I have spoken to all Great Southern Football League clubs and they are happy with the compromise," Terry said.
"With minimal crowds being able to attend, this decision is a good result. The indication from most clubs is they want to play."
Manager of football operations in the Port Lincoln Football League Quinn Dutschke said the league was happy to to see the SANFL give direction on player payments.
"We are happy to see this implemented. All clubs in the Port Lincoln Football League support zero payments this year, as it is in the best interests of football during this extremely different season," Quinn said.
President of the Port Lincoln Football League Faye Davis said season 2020 is not about money, but the game itself.
"This is the sensible way to proceed, as most community leagues are not in a position to pay players. We would hope the SANFL and AFL follow what community clubs are being asked to do," Faye said .
"There are limited funds coming into the football clubs with relationships with sponsors being built for the 2021 season."
Kangaroo Island Football League president Heath Gurney said player payments were not a major concern.
"Money does not affect us too much. There has been a little creep in over recent seasons, but not enough to worry our competition," Heath said.
"As long as we have travel covered we are ok and the SANFL are allowing the travel allowance. Travel is always our issue.
"Sealink has given the Kangaroo Island Football League fantastic support over the years and it is very much appreciated, as it takes the pressure off us monetary wise."
Mr Hurley said the outcome was part of a broader response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce community club costs in line with reduced revenues.
"Ultimately, our goal is to ensure every football club and league in South Australia can get through season 2020 and come out of the other side and be sustainable and successful," Mr Hurley said.
"While some clubs may not be as impacted as others by COVID-19, most have taken a significant hit through loss of sponsorship and other revenue streams as a result of the effect on local businesses."
SANFL has recommended to all leagues and clubs that they hold off on making any decision about the season until a meeting of League Presidents on Tuesday, June 9.
"We understand this is an uncertain time for everyone involved in our game, but we appreciate the football community working together to ensure all community clubs are sustainable into the future."
A decision on the netball season in communities is still pending, as Netball SA progress their ability to model fees.