Outlaws ready to start flag football season

June 17, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The hope of having a regular football season this summer is slowly evaporating as the provincial limits to the number of players allowed on a field would make a football game impossible.

This will be the second year in a row there has been no gridiron action across the province.

Even with the easing of restrictions on outdoor and sporting activities, games are prohibited and the number of people allowed on a field for training purposes means most sports clubs cannot train as a team.

The Orangeville Outlaws Football club will at least be able to salvage some play with the return of their flag football program.

Club executive put a program together late last summer which turned out to be very popular among the players who just wanted to get outdoors and have some competition and some fun.

The program was supposed to get underway in the spring however the province wide shut-down cancelled the early start.

“We are starting back with our first practice on Wednesday, June 23,” said Outlaws executive member Sue Ellies. “Since we are in Step One (of the provincial re-opening plan) we will be grouping the kids into tens and placing them on separate areas of the field.”

The Club will host a flag football program on the field at Orangeville Christian School. They had a successful program last year on the same field.

The Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) is currently lobbying the provincial government to reconsider restrictions on their sport.

The OPFL says the current restrictions have begun to “impact the welfare of our children, and the sustainability of the organizations that provide football programming across all age groups and playing levels in Ontario.”

The OPFL sent a letter stating their concerns to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, chief medical officer, David Williams, and Christine Elliot, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, outlining their case for a return to the sport.

The organization says that the lack of sports is impacting the “mental and physical health” of kids in the province.

It goes on to say that restrictions are forcing sports organizations to use expensive private or semi-private facilities that may affect ‘vulnerable youth athletes’ who need youth sports the most.

The football organization says it is a leader in safe protocols on the sports field and it is prepared to put new protocols in place like face shields attached to football helmets.

In a regular year, football leagues across the province would have started playing their opening games on the May 24 weekend, after winter indoor training and spring training on local football fields.

Even if the restrictions are eased to allow more players on the field, by that time it will likely be too late to get players suited up and suitable trained for some last season games.

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