THERE won't be a Toyota NEAFL Premiership Season this year, meaning the competition may have played its final game.
A meeting between the AFL and all NEAFL clubs on Tuesday afternoon sealed the League's fate for 2020.
The requirement for interstate travel, given the NEAFL – which began in 2011 – involves Queensland and New South Wales clubs, was a decisive factor as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prove challenging.
It's believed clubs also knew they would be without key players who had relocated interstate during the lockdown period.
AFL.com.au revealed on Monday at least two of the NEAFL clubs were considering not playing, after AFL head of talent pathways and state league competitions Tristan Salter presented to them last week.
"All levels of the game across the country have been impacted by the health pandemic this year and we acknowledge this is very disappointing news for the players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans of the NEAFL," Salter said.
"This has been a very difficult, yet necessary, decision we have had to make and we want to commend each NEAFL club who has worked towards ensuring a united approach to the outcome of the 2020 Toyota NEAFL season.
"With four of the nine NEAFL clubs affiliated to an AFL club, we explored many scenarios as to how we could still proceed with a condensed season in a non-traditional format.
"Ultimately, it provided too great a challenge for all involved."
AFL.com.au reported on Monday one of those scenarios was for the five non-AFL clubs – Aspley, Canberra, Redland, Southport and Sydney Uni – to play an eight-game home and away season against the Brisbane, Gold Coast, GWS Giants and Sydney academies.
Another proposal was for Aspley, Canberra, Redland, Southport and Sydney Uni to compete against each other twice, in what would have also been an eight-match campaign.
Salter said the AFL was working with AFL NSW/ACT and AFL Queensland on how best to support impacted players, coaches and officials and their involvement in the game this year.
ON THE RADAR Eastern seaboard league for 2021
"The health and welfare of everyone in the NEAFL is paramount," he said.
"We will work towards ensuring that while there is no NEAFL season being played, they can still be involved in the game."
There are ongoing discussions around the future of the VFL and NEAFL competitions, with the potential of the latter folding into an extended VFL from 2021 that takes in the eastern seaboard.