The National Cabinet has agreed to a pathway for a staged return of community and professional sports, giving weekend warriors hope they will soon be able to return to fields around the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a 15-point plan for the resumption of sports, which was developed by Australian Olympic and AIS chief medical officer David Hughes.
NRL players are expected to start training next week while the AFL, A-League and Super Rugby are also formulating plans to play again.
Community-level sports, however, are yet to find out when they will be able to train as teams or be given an indication of when amateur competitions will resume.
Morrison said more details were expected to be announced at the end of next week, while Sport Minister Richard Colbeck added: "If you want to get out to play, download the [COVIDsafe] app today."
States and territories will have the final say about when all sports will be allowed to restart and what restrictions will be imposed at venues.
The AIS report details the baseline standards and three different levels for return to sport, as well as the 15 conditions needed to be in place to relax restrictions. They will monitor developments for three months after the resumption of play.
"Resumption of sporting activity may not be linear. Increasing restrictions may be required in response to fluctuating numbers of COVID-19 cases," Hughes wrote.
"Sporting organisations need to be flexible to accommodate and respond to changes in community transmission rates and the associated changes in advice from public health authorities."
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Spectators will not be allowed to attend professional or community sport for the foreseeable future.
"International evidence to date is suggestive that outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission," the report said.
"There is no good data on risks of indoor sporting activity but, at this time, the risk is assumed to be greater than for outdoor sporting activity, even with similar mitigation steps taken."
Canberra's community sports are bracing for major financial hits should registrations drop and seasons be cancelled, or played in reduced formats.
The ACT Rugby Union spoke to clubs this week about potential options for a return, which could include a premier sevens competition for the first time. Rugby officials have decided to wait for more advice before announcing a potential start date, despite Brisbane and Sydney pushing ahead with plans to play.
Rugby league competitions could start in mid July, while soccer bosses are hopeful they will be able to follow a similar timeline in the coming months.
"The principles to date draw heavily on the Australian Institute of Sport framework in rebooting sport in a COVID-19 environment. They're quite detailed," Morrison said.
"They do set out important principles, for example outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. A lot more of the risk is indoors ... not just playing, but change rooms and things like that.
"It's important that people should be able to see sport, but play it as well. That will be done in a staged manner."
Activity could progress to "Level B", which involves groups of no more than 10 training and sharing some equipment, before moving to "Level C" for full competition. Children's sport is also included in the AIS framework plans.
"Decisions have not been taken to move on any of those matters, but these principles set out the basis we might be able to go forward," Morrison said.
The Australian Olympic Committee and individual sports endorsed the plan on Friday night, AOC boss Matt Carroll saying: "This is a very sensible approach."
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