THE 2020 AFL season has been postponed after just one round due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The 2020 NAB AFL Women's season has been cancelled, with no premiership to be awarded.
Clubs were on Sunday afternoon informed of the decision reached by the AFL Commission. The scheduled Hawthorn-Brisbane and West Coast-Melbourne games will be completed to finish round one.
FULL STATEMENT AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan on suspending the 2020 seasons
"To say this is the most serious threat to our game in 100 years is an understatement. It is unprecedented in its impact," McLachlan said.
"It is unprecedented in the impact it is having on our game and the wider community, and as a community and as a code, we all need to take the unprecedented and required actions to get through this together."
"I know that everyone involved in our game and our millions of supporters will be impacted by this decision and that many people will suffer significant hardship as are people right across the community but I also know that we all have a responsibility to the community and each other. And we have the will to work collectively to overcome this crisis."
After Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday morning announced the latest series of drastic measures to counter the coronavirus outbreak, including the banning of non-essential travel, and the endorsement of the states issuing their own border-shutdowns, many AFL clubs felt the season had to be stopped.
Some players were against the decision to actually start the year, a decision the AFL Commission only reached last Wednesday, 24 hours before the Richmond-Carlton season opener at the MCG.
All round one games were played in spectator-less stadiums.
In a phone hook-up of club officials, the AFL said no matches would be played before June, but it is known that that timeframe could be significantly pushed back.
There remains, though, a commitment to somehow play the remaining 144 matches of the 2020 season, which was last week reduced to a 17-game-per-team fixture.
AFL Players' Association CEO Paul Marsh said in a statement that he understood the League's decision to suspend the AFL season and cancel the AFLW season, acknowledging the disappointment felt by the AFLW players.
"It was discussed with AFLW player delegates from all clubs last week as to their preferred finals structure and, after consultation, the majority view was to push to a top eight, knowing that there was a risk the competition might come to an early conclusion if the COVID-19 situation continued to intensify. Unfortunately, this is now the case," Marsh said.
"We congratulate all AFLW players on their contribution to the 2020 season.
"We remain optimistic that the 2020 AFL season will recommence at the right time, but, for now, we believe today’s decision is the right one for players, staff, clubs and the community."