Australian Football League Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan today said the NAB AFL Women’s and Toyota AFL Premiership season will continue however no fans will be permitted to attend matches for the foreseeable future.
The 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season will begin Thursday night at the MCG.
The AFL acknowledges the advice of the medical authorities that there is a potential for interruption across the season. The AFL will continue to look at all fixturing alternatives to ensure both seasons are completed.
The health and well-being of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners and communities is the priority, with the decision made following advice provided by both Federal and state governments and the State and Territory Chief Medical Officers.
He said the AFL would continue to be guided by the most up-to-date advice while acknowledging that matters may continue to evolve.
As of Saturday, March 14, AFL and AFLW matches will now only host players, coaches, essential club officials, umpires, AFL match day officials, essential broadcast teams, media and required venue staff with no supporters permitted to attend.
Given the timing, tonight’s (March 13) NAB AFLW Match between Geelong vs North Melbourne will proceed as planned, with fans attending if they choose to.
Fans who have purchased tickets for Round 1 of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season via Ticketmaster and Ticketek will receive a refund, while club, AFL and venue members will be communicated to in coming days.
The AFL and clubs will continue to put a range of precautionary measures in place to protect the well-being of players and club officials.
Mr McLachlan said the situation is fluid with multiple different scenarios across the country in different states, and the league would continue to have constant dialogue with the Australian Government and the various state and territory governments and relevant regulatory and medical authorities.
“The health and safety of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners and communities is the priority, so it is important that we take the advice of those that know best, and that advice right now is to continue with matches but not to host mass gatherings which can put everyone at risk.” Mr McLachlan said.
“We have said from the outset that we will rely on the advice of the medical experts who have been planning to deal with this situation for some time and we will continue to make decisions based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officers.
“I am disappointed for our fans but we cannot put them in a situation that potentially jeopardises the health and well-being of the whole community.
"The landscape is changing quickly, each organisation has their own set of challenges, but our clubs, players, officials and fans know that the health and safety of all is the number 1 priority.
“At an AFL club level, our football departments are elite sporting environments. Club doctors and medical staff are well equipped to work through any precautionary measures and manage any player health concerns – this is something they continue to do on a daily basis as they prepare for the season.
“We will continue to provide clubs with protocols to assist with the health and safety of players, officials and supporters. As I said, the situation is fluid and the protocols will be updated regularly to reflect this.” he said.
"We are working through a major issue that impacts the wider community and we will work with all our clubs and industry partners to ensure that footy finds a way."
The AFL has a working group in place that continues to monitor the situation.
Matches will continue to be broadcast on the Seven Network, Foxtel, the AFL App with thanks to Telstra, and though radio broadcast partners.