Basketballers out of bounds


THE Southern Peninsula Basketball Association is in damage control following revelations that some Sharks players trained at Dromana Secondary College stadium for several weeks in breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

The players could be ruled out of bounds and fined by Basketball Victoria for the unsanctioned training while the school was closed.

Despite the allegations being aired on social media, including warnings that COVID-19 restrictions banned indoor training, officials are reluctant to provide details about the alleged breaches.

Some parents are said to feel “betrayed” by the association because they thought the small-group training had been given the official all clear.

A parent later said it appeared the school was unaware that outside groups were training at the stadium.

Association president Damian Paul admitted last week to being “furious that the situation had arisen”.

“Some people have done the wrong thing and that’s the frustrating part,” he said.

“None of [the training] was sanctioned and we didn’t know about it. I only found out when someone told me [in early June] and we self-reported.

“We went to the school and Basketball Victoria [in order to maintain] the integrity of the [association] because we knew [the breaches] were not allowed.”

Mr Paul posted on social media last week: “The [COVID-19] restrictions … as they relate to sport Victoria are very clear: You can gather in groups of up to 20 people outside, but must adhere to the social distancing described by the government.

“Gathering in indoor facilities is prohibited and will attract a significant fine for [those who] transgress and facility owners who allow it.”

Mr Paul said anyone training indoors was “putting themselves at risk of breaking government laws and Basketball Victoria guidelines. You are also potentially putting our return to play at risk.”

He said Basketball Victoria was aware of the “alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions” and would be investigating.

“Basketball Victoria and the Southern Peninsula Basketball Association state that no sanctioned basketball activity has occurred at the Dromana Secondary College stadium during this period,” he said.

“The SPBA has made it very clear to all members of the club that the stadiums were closed during the pandemic.”

Mr Paul later agreed that parents of some players were upset that their children had been training in breach of restrictions.

Dromana Secondary College principal Alan Marr would not comment on the breaches last week and did not return questions via email.

The Southern Peninsula Basketball Association runs two seasons a year with about 3000 players participating each week.

At this stage indoor training for basketballers is expected to begin on 20 July for Junior Domestic and 27 July for Senior Domestic competitions.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 30 June 2020


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