THE AFL has delayed revealing its return to play plans until the week beginning May 11.

Having two weeks ago told clubs it would outline its course out of the COVID-19 enforced shutdown by the start of next week, AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan late Friday informed all industry officials of a new timeline.

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"The national cabinet has indicated that they will review restrictions at a meeting on May 10 provided the (coronavirus infection) curve is still flattening and testing rates are increasing," McLachlan said to clubs in a memo.

"The timetable we will now work to is the week beginning May 11 when we will be able to provide full details for clubs and supporters on a proposed date for a resumption of training and return to play.

"That will give us time to finalise our national planning while continuing to work with governments and chief health officers around the country."

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In addressing the delay of releasing match resumption plans, McLachlan said:

"Making sure we are aligned with the advice of government and the relevant medical authorities and ensuring everything we do protects the health and safety of our players and staff and the wider community has been at the core of our planning in ensuring we play the remaining 144 games plus finals.

"Obviously aligned to that announcement as an industry in the week of May 11, we will have to work through what the implications are for our own staff at AFL and club level. This is an incredibly challenging time for so many people across our industry and we need to continue to work closely with them.

"I realise that this means that all our staff will have to wait longer for clarity about next steps."

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The memo also said:

  • A return to play model had not yet been signed off, but that "all options with governments across the country", including hubs, were being thrashed out
  • No decisions had been made on soft cap levels, pathway structures, list sizes or amount of games played in future seasons.

 The AFL suspended the 2020 season after round one, leaving 144 matches (16 per club) to be played, before finals.