The Illawarra District Rugby League’s (IDRL) 2020 season remains uncertain despite the state government announcing junior sport can recommence next month.

The announcement made on Tuesday confirmed restrictions on under 18 community sporting competitions would be lifted from July 1.

The news was welcomed by New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) who yesterday announced plans to restart junior competitions from July 18.

IDRL manager, Chris Bannerman said there are a number of hurdles to overcome before the season can restart.

“Before any training can take place, clubs have to appoint a COVID-19 safety officer and they have to submit a safety plan to NSWRL. There’s also some training and education clubs have to undertake,” Mr Bannerman said.

“Clubs will have to be prepared to take this on and have the volunteers to do so, but it may be the case that some of their volunteers are in the vulnerable age group and aren’t prepared to step forward in this climate.”

NSWRL has outlined a three-stage plan to resume under 18 competitions by mid-July but Mr Bannerman says he’s not convinced state restrictions will have eased enough for games to begin.

“The Public Health Order currently stands at public gatherings of 10. No community sport can operate under that unless that changes to at least 100,” he said.

“The indication from last Friday’s National Cabinet meeting was that gathering restrictions won’t ease until late July, early August. Until then no one can train properly so I don’t understand how this is going to work.”

Concern has also been raised about the financial viability of clubs if crowd limits are enforced and seasons are shortened.

“Our junior clubs drive a lot of revenue through canteen and barbeque sales but if that’s restricted in any way that’s going to hurt them,” Mr Bannerman said.

“Senior clubs are often supported by the licenced hotel and club industry who are bleeding at the moment so we’re factoring in that’s not going to be the case this year.”

These concerns have led to a number of senior teams, including the Berkeley Eagles, withdrawing from this year’s competition.

With the state government yet to confirm when adult sporting competitions will be able to recommence, Berkeley Eagles club manager, Richard Ford said withdrawing seemed to be the smart thing to do.

“We weren’t prepared to put the club in jeopardy to finance this year only for a much shorter season,” he said.

“I believe Collegians and Dapto have made the same decision. The guidelines required to play would have just been a strain on our finances and our players and volunteers.”

The Illawarra District Rugby League committee is expected to meet tomorrow night to discuss how they will move forward.