ALL AFL players have now been granted government approval for non-contact training in groups of 10 after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday followed other states in relaxing COVID-19 social restrictions.
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From first thing Wednesday, footballers from the 10 Victorian teams will actually be permitted by the government to use their club facilities.
However, the AFL will still enforce its national rules which restricts training to only two players at a time until uniformity across the country can be achieved.
The announcement by Premier Andrews was made while AFL commissioners were on a video hook-up meeting which is expected to run well into Monday afternoon.
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The specific reference to "professional sport" in the Victorian state government media release read:
"Permit use of otherwise restricted facilities such as pools, gyms, arenas, stadiums etc for professional sports use only (without public).
"Condition that the relevant professional sporting organisation must have exclusive use of the facility at the time of use (i.e. not allow public access) and take all reasonable steps to manage public health risks for users. Operator must keep contact lists per other operators."
Premier Andrews said in a media conference his government had worked closely with the AFL as it waded through the options available to it in its projects to ease the state of the coronavirus pandemic.
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"There has been a lot of work with the AFL," Premier Andrews said.
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"We have agreed to a set of arrangements to allow training to resume just before midnight tomorrow night (Tuesday).
"That paves the way for the AFL and the other codes to make announcements."
The Victorian allowance for training in groups of 10 will stand for at least three weeks, when the next set of restriction plans could be unveiled.
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It is likely the AFL will delay allowing clubs to officially return to full training until uniformity on training conditions across all states can be achieved.
"We thank the Victorian Government for giving approval for full contact training for Victoria teams at their club training bases and paving the way for a return to football," and AFL spokesman said.
"The AFL is still enforcing the current national AFL protocols for all clubs which restricts training to only two players at a time. The AFL is continuing to finalise its arrangements on its return to play model, to be announced in coming days."
The two Western Australian teams, the Eagles and Dockers, will almost certainly be forced to establish bases on the eastern seaboard, as WA is still subject to strict border controls which would prohibit the smooth scheduling of AFL matches.
Some WA and South Australia-based players are serving periods of state-ordered self-isolation, and would not be able to currently train in the groups of 10.