THE AFL's annual Anzac Day ceremony will go ahead this year despite the COVID-19 enforced shutdown of matches, with the reciting of the Ode of Remembrance and a lone bugler playing Last Post to an empty MCG.

The ceremony will be broadcast on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App, collingwoodfc.com.au (and the club's App), essendonfc.com.au (and the club's App), and other media platforms on Saturday afternoon, prior to what would have been the annual Essendon-Collingwood Anzac Day blockbuster.

>> WATCH FROM 1PM AEST ON AFL.COM.AU AND THE AFL LIVE OFFICIAL APP

The two clubs, the AFL and the Returned and Services League were all determined to continue the acknowledgment of Anzac Day, despite the 2020 season being suspended since the completion of round one.

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Fans of all clubs, not just Essendon and Collingwood, will be encouraged to dress in club apparel and to pay their respects during the ode and when Last Post is played.

The AFL is encouraging fans to walk out into their yards, driveways and balconies during the ceremony, and to share their experiences on social media, all as part of support for the RSL's #STANDTO social media initiative and the Anzac appeal.

>> WATCH FROM 1PM AEST ON AFL.COM.AU AND THE AFL LIVE OFFICIAL APP

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said it was important that Anzac Day be acknowledged by the football industry despite there being no matches.

"Potentially simplicity is the best, and there will be a reality that it will have to be simple," McLachlan told AFL.com.au.

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"But if we can do a small bit for people to reflect and understand and if we can do that as an industry, and do it in a way because of the legacy that has been created through that Anzac Day game, and then the broader things that our industry does, then I think it would be a great thing.

"It's as important a day we have in our calendar, where I think we do our bit to honour our service men and women, those who have made the sacrifice historically and for those who continue to do so.

"We know Anzac Day is not going to happen. But I have had correspondence and people asking if we can somehow do our bit to tie football to Anzac Day, for our industry to do its little bit to acknowledge the contributions of so many men and women, and I am optimistic we will be able to do something, small and entirely appropriate for the time, and in keeping with the customs and protocols we are doing in keeping our community safe.

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"I am very keen, as there are people across our footy community also keen, to do that, and do what we can."

Since 1995, when the first Essendon-Collingwood Anzac Day match was staged, the pre-match service has been a powerfully special part of the AFL calendar.

Chief commercial officer at Essendon Justin Rodski was hopeful all AFL club supporters would get involved with the ceremony.

"We'd like to think everyone can be part of this," Rodski said.

"We hope to see football fans tune in to the broadcast from wherever they are, put on their club colours, walk outside, stand in your yard, driveway, or in your lounge room, and observe a minute of silence together.

"It has always been a special privilege for Essendon and Collingwood to be involved on this important day of remembrance and this is our opportunity as an AFL community to pay our respects."

Social distancing protocols will be adhered to in all aspects of the ceremony.