Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons says clubs hold the right to withdraw from 2020 competition if they wish

Working together: Wauchope and Port United will compete in the 2020 football season, while Lake Cathie have pulled out.
Working together: Wauchope and Port United will compete in the 2020 football season, while Lake Cathie have pulled out.

FOOTBALL Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons has empathised with all clubs and their right to make a decision in the best interests of the club.

It comes after Lake Cathie FC pulled out of season 2020 citing concerns with COVID-safe plans and a belief that their members would not be receiving value for money by playing a 12-week competition.

In a statement posted on social media, the club said they were aware the decision would have a direct impact on their registered members.

"The decision was not taken lightly and was made after ongoing consultations and meetings with other local football clubs, Football Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Football," the statement read.

"A number of factors have contributed to the decision, including the uncertainty in relation to and the difficulty in effectively managing a safety plan and the ability of club volunteers to implement the plan.

"Limited preparation time before the season commences, the reduced proposed playing season, the number of volunteers required by the club and added financial pressure were all further contributing factors when making the decision."

Port Macquarie FC, Port Saints and Port United also raised similar concerns while Wauchope pulled out a week ago before the club was satisfied enough with some additional changes put forward by FMNC to rejoin the season.

But regardless of each club's final decision, Parsons reiterated they would be endorsed by the FMNC board.

"We support everyone involved in football whether they're in, whether they're out or whether they're undecided because these are stressful times," he said.

"One has to respect every individual and their decision and how they feel about the sanctity of their home.

"As a father and a grandfather of people playing, I could not be more understanding of the situation facing so many of us."

Wauchope president Justin Johns said their main concern was no clear indication of the requirements placed on clubs in regards to volunteers.

"[As of Thursday] it still hasn't been signed off on and there has been no formal verification when we can return to contact other than to train," he said.

"We didn't want to place undue strain on our volunteer committees with their ability to follow COVID-19 regulations."

Port FC president Ashley Corbett shared members' concerns about having value for money by competing in a shortened season.

"We've cancelled our men's team for this year," he said.

"You look after your members and everyone's been sitting around for three months with no physical contact so the injury rate will be pretty high which is a concern.

"We're waiting to see if it will be reduced to 9-a-side from 11 or if the games will be a bit shorter.

"Football Mid North Coast are doing their best to get a season up and running because they want people still playing the game."

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