Victoria training paused as Covid-19 lockdown clarity is sought

Cricket Victoria are based at Junction Oval in Melbourne Getty Images

Victoria's men's and women's squads stopped training at their Junction Oval training base in Melbourne on Thursday as the state association sought clarity on whether they could continue pre-season programs amid the state government's ramp up of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across the state, including an 8pm to 5am curfew.

Until this week, the squads had been permitted to train under an exemption granted to professional sporting bodies, and the late arrival of updated regulations for the Melbourne metropolitan area had caused CV to pause scheduled training on Thursday as a precaution. A list of permitted workplaces was published about 1am on Thursday.

CV is understood to have sought written confirmation of their ability to continue training under the exemption terms published early on Thursday morning, with sessions for both squads likely to resume on Friday or Monday at the earliest.

Victoria's players have been placed at a considerable disadvantage relative to other state squads, all of which have enjoyed far less stringent restrictions in the absence of any outbreaks comparable to the one currently sweeping Victoria.

The relevant regulations on "Restricted Activities Directions" feature the following exception: "A person who owns, controls or operates a physical recreation facility in the restricted area may operate that facility if it is operated for the exclusive use of training of professional and high performance sports persons only.

"A person who owns, controls or operates an arena or stadium in the restricted area may operate that facility for the purpose of providing an exclusive training venue for professional and high performance sports persons at any one time.

"A person who operates a facility ... must only permit to attend the facility a person who is necessary for the management of the facility or professional sporting training."

It goes on to give the examples of coaching staff and facility managers as necessary attendees in addition to the athletes themselves. In the accompanying regulations for "Stay At Home Directions", the section on leaving home premises to attend work or education states: "A person may leave the premises only if it is not reasonably practicable for the person to work from the premises."

In concert with Cricket Australia, CV has been working through a range of scenarios for the men's and women's state squads ahead of the domestic season, dates for which are yet to be announced.

"I'm just doing some pre-planning as to how it could look if we were forced to quarantine or get an exemption to be able to quarantine in one of the northern states or across the west," CV's cricket manager Shaun Graf told SEN Radio last month.

"If we had to quarantine and these [Marsh Cup] games are later in September we'd be looking to have to get out of here if we were able to early September, hopefully get exemptions across the other states and play away from home. That's one the scenarios I'm looking at, hence I'm looking at we could be away for anything up to two months."