CLUBS were on Saturday morning given hope that the 2020 season could resume in June.
In a video hook-up hosted by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, clubs were told that a federal government "endorsed pathway", effectively signed-off during a national cabinet meeting on Friday, gave clarity to match resumption for the first time since the season was suspended after round one due to COVID-19.
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"There is now optionality for us in what lies ahead," McLachlan told AFL.com.au after the meeting.
The clubs were told that with the now expected easing of restrictions by federal and state governments that it was possible for the fixture to roll out in traditional form, and for hubs to possibly not be required.
"It remains early days, but the fly in, fly out possibility would have advantages," McLachlan said.
The state governments will still have the ultimate say on AFL returning.
In Victoria, a state of emergency is in place until May 11, but there is renewed hope that it will be removed, or eased, in the weeks after that date.
That could mean Victorian clubs may be given allowance to move to Stage B of the AIS-endorsed sports return blueprint, which would allow for footballers to train in groups of 10, by mid to late May.
Stage C allows for competitive training and match play.
It is yet to be determined the period of time required for Stage B.