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AN ALTERNATIVE 17-5 fixture model remains on the AFL agenda with AFL CEO Gill McLachlan keen to keep the season alive for as many clubs as long as possible.
The AFL expects to set up a working group soon to consider potential models with McLachlan saying the main challenge remaining was to work out an appropriate system for the bottom six in the final five rounds.
He said there was a chance a new fixture model could be in place before the current broadcast deal expires but refused to put an exact time frame on when a proposal would next be put formally to clubs.
"There is no secret that I think there is an opportunity to improve that fixture," McLachlan said.
"The issue is making sure we get all the upside of the improvements and mitigate the downside."
Under the 17-5 proposal, all clubs would play each other once in their first 17 games before the competition would be split into three groups of six according to ladder positions with the remaining five games to determine their starting positions in a finals series.
Wildcard rounds have also been floated in discussions around how to keep the season alive for more teams for longer.
Club CEOs rejected the 17-5 model when it was first formally proposed two years ago but they were asked to consider how it might work in the future.
McLachlan said at the time: "Most clubs could see merit in the concept but the question is how then do you transition from the existing draw to this new model?"
AFL fixture boss Travis Auld said on Thursday he was keen to push for improvement in the fixture model but important stakeholders ranging from commercial to football departments needed significant input in developing any proposal.
McLachlan remains confident the AFL could involve the fans in the discussion so any change is viewed in a positive manner once it is introduced.
"The big challenge for Travis [Auld] to work through with the clubs is how the bottom six operates," McLachlan said.