AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan has accepted the fact there won't be spectators when matches resume in 2020, but is not yet resigned to a fan-ban through to the Grand Final.
"I am very clear, and I don't see a way where we would be starting a season with crowds, but do I think very late in the year is there zero chance (of no crowds)? No, I don't," McLachlan told AFL.com.au.
"Is it remote? Probably. I am realistic about the challenges but I haven't ruled it out definitively at the back end."
McLachlan will inform clubs by the end of April the timeframe for resumption of the AFL season, which was suspended after round one due to the COVID-19 shutdown and which had already been reduced from a total of 198 matches to 153, equating to each team playing 17 games.
He is adamant those matches and a yet-to-be-determined finals series will be completed by December 31.
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"I think we will have a premier in 2020," McLachlan said.
"We need to draw some lines and in the end we need to find a premier in 2020, and there will be another premier next year.
"As I sit here today, with the information I have, we can run a season and have a premier in 2020."
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While no one at federal and state government level, as well as the medical authorities, could yet predict a clearance period for professional sports to resume, it is known senior AFL figures are hopeful of a late July resumption.
"Our plan is when we do start we don't want to stop," McLachlan said.