The lack of crowds and players from Melbourne were the Ovens and Murray Football Netball League's greatest fears after COVID-19 wiped out the senior competitions.
The O and M board made the bitterly disappointing decision to cancel the season following a delegates meeting on Wednesday night.
"There were two main considerations and the first was crowd numbers," chairman David Sinclair said.
"There was still not enough evidence that crowd numbers were going to be to a point where we could run a sustainable competition.
"And the other one was they were going to have this COVID permit system and there was already evidence of players almost flooding into the competition from Melbourne clubs and if the O and M decided to play, the safety of everyone was the forefront of our thinking and, had we played with players from Melbourne, that was going to put that safety at risk.
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"The last thing we wanted was the O and M to potentially bring COVID into this region and with the way it is in Melbourne, that potentially could have happened."
Melbourne is now Australia's hotbed for coronavirus with the Victorian Government announcing a major testing blitz of 10 hotspot suburbs.
Some clubs, such as Wangaratta, have a number of Melbourne-based players, with at least 20 making the weekly trip for the 10 clubs.
Sinclair admits the three and a half-month long COVID-19 saga has worn him down, particularly the past three weeks.
Now in his third year as chairman, Sinclair has led from the front in a number of areas, particularly with his media work, refusing to knock back one interview as the appetite for information continued to grow.
"One of the aspects I would like to recognise is for those who have ultimately made the decisions (to cancel the competitions), that's the strain put on league executives and I don't know whether that's been appreciated," AFL North East Border region general manager John O'Donohue said.
"These are enormous decisions, the biggest decisions that people will make in their football administration time, they've been under enormous pressure, particularly in the last three weeks."
The O and M still plans to host a competition for the league's juniors in under-18 football and 16 and under netball, but the league has agreed no premierships will be awarded.
However, it was apparent during the delegates meeting that some clubs are pushing harder for junior football than others, while some netballers weren't as keen to play as footballers, so there's much to work through.