THE VFL season has been called off after Victoria reentered stage three lockdown.
The second-tier competition, which was set to include seven teams and begin on August 1, has been abandoned.
The Victorian Government's announcement that metropolitan Melbourne would go into a six-week lockdown as of Wednesday night has forced the AFL to end its hope of playing a reduced VFL season.
It informed VFL clubs of its decision on Wednesday, with the VFLW competition – which has been reworked into a 'Super Series' for prospects to show their wares ahead of the AFLW draft – still aimed to be run in September.
"We acknowledge this is very disappointing news for the players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans of the VFL competition and commend every VFL club who has worked tirelessly to ensure a united approach to the outcome of the 2020 season," the AFL's head of talent and state league competitions Tristan Salter said.
"Following the updated restrictions announced by Victoria State Government yesterday, 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 Victoria is still working through ways it can highlight some of the best VFL talent later this year to expose them to AFL recruiters ahead of the NAB AFL Draft.
Last week Casey Demons withdrew from the VFL competition leaving Box Hill, Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, Werribee and Williamstown to face off in the shortened season.
However the spike of COVID-19 cases and subsequent return to stage three 'stay at home' restrictions in Victoria has spelled the end of the League this year.
The setback has cast doubts over the return of the NAB League as well, which was due to begin on August 22, just days after the proposed six-week lockdown period ends.
However the AFL continues to work through ways for this year's top draftees to take to the field, with regional areas exempt from the restrictions.
It means the competition's country-based sides, which were already going to play off in one of the two NAB League conferences, could still feature as planned with options for the metropolitan clubs to be assessed.
The APS private school competition in Victoria, which was due to start on July 25, was been postponed indefinitely on Wednesday.
Many of this year's top prospects, including potential No.1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan who plays for Scotch College, feature in the competition, leaving recruiters with an even harder task to assess Victoria's talent pool.