FREMANTLE and West Coast will be forced to relocate east should the AFL season resume in a fly-in, fly-out model, according to the Western Australian government.
Speaking on Wednesday, WA premier Mark McGowan reiterated his hardline stance on maintaining a 14-day isolation window for WA arrivals and not allowing exemptions for footballers.
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Quarantine hubs now appear increasingly unlikely to begin the AFL season given the expected easing of restrictions in eastern states which would allow a fly-in, fly-out model.
Should that eventuate, the Eagles and Dockers would need to move to another state in order to compete in the early matches of the season resumption – expected in mid-June.
"We're not going to compromise on our hard borders just to meet the needs of football," McGowan said.
"We will have discussions with the AFL to see if there's ways of managing it within our hard borders and I've already had a conversation with the AFL about that.
"At this point in time there doesn't appear to be a way forward that allows our players to fly to Victoria or Sydney and back again and that doesn't appear to be an option."
Lessgoooo ?? make sure your seat and foldout table are in the upright position pic.twitter.com/4R664vaDgY— Nic Naitanui (@NicNat) May 6, 2020
McGowan instead pushed the AFL to reconsider the hubs model that would've seen clubs move to two or three cities – potentially including Perth – and play a group of matches.
"What I'd say to the AFL is that the hub arrangement in which teams were going to move to Western Australia and play football was a great arrangement and I'd urge the AFL to continue to pursue that arrangement," he said.
"Our football teams have been disadvantaged by the football hierarchy for a long period of time and if that's what happens (moving to play), that would be a further disadvantage for Western Australian teams."
WA recorded its seventh consecutive day without a positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday, while South Australia has gone 14 days without an infection.
Queensland had a day of no positive tests announced on Wednesday, while Victoria registered 13 and New South Wales seven.
While Queensland also currently has a 14-day isolation period required for arrivals, their government has given professional sporting codes such as the AFL and NRL the tick of approval for chartered flights to fly in and fly out of the state for matches.
The National Cabinet meeting on Friday is expected to provide more clarity on state border controls nation-wide that will relate to the AFL.
With Victoria – where 10 of the 18 clubs are based – still in a state of emergency until at least May 11, clubs are hopeful they may be able to begin training by May 18.