A GOOD Friday game seems a foregone conclusion after receiving the AFL Commission's approval, but it might not kick off until 2016 and could be held at a venue outside Victoria.
AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick announced on Monday that the scheduling of a game on Good Friday had been approved, but the AFL executive would make the final decision on whether the fixture went ahead and, if so, when, where and between which teams.
"There has been a growing appetite to hold a game on this day and on balance we believe the time is right," Fitzpatrick said.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said a Good Friday game might not be scheduled in 2015, given the religious holiday will likely fall in round one next year, with the season set for a late start after the cricket World Cup final at the MCG.
North Melbourne has campaigned to play on Good Friday since the late 1980s, with Carlton and the Western Bulldogs also putting their hands up recently to be part of any new fixture.
But McLachlan said no decision had been made on the teams who would play on Good Friday, with a game outside Victoria one of the possibilities being considered.
"I think Sydney at 4.40pm might be a great slot up there or Gold Coast might be great," McLachlan said.
McLachlan said the fixture could be rotated between different teams each year, but hoped that two teams would eventually make the day their own as Hawthorn and Geelong had with their annual Easter Monday clash over the past five years.
Asked whether the fixture would need at least one big-drawing club to be successful, McLachlan said it was more important to have teams that played competitive and entertaining football.
Good Friday 'needs big clubs'
"If it was two smaller-drawing clubs then there's the upside of hopefully getting the lift and filling it up," he said.
"If it was a bigger club and a smaller club you sort of mitigate the risk.
"What I think actually though is people want to see a good game and I think where the clubs sit on the ladder and what people view the contest is going to be like is as important as the two teams themselves.
"If you play competitive, fun football, people watch and you'll get the good (time) slots – it's as simple as that."
McLachlan envisaged other teams would put their hands up to be part of a Good Friday fixture now that it had received the Commission's approval, but said Collingwood and Essendon understood they both already had their fair share of annual blockbusters.
McLachlan said it was likely that the new fixture would work in with the Good Friday Appeal.
But the new AFL boss is in no hurry to decide whether Good Friday games will begin in 2015, saying that the decision could be delayed until the season fixture is released in October.