ALL PLAYERS will be tested for COVID-19 by the end of the week as part of the AFL's plans to allow a resumption of training as early as next Monday.
In a detailed memo sent to clubs, the AFL has ordered the tests, which take 5-10 minutes, be completed before Friday.
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The AFL has outlined strict protocols relating to a resumption to training and playing in the document, including the banning for the remainder of 2020 of AFL-listed footballers from playing in their respective states’ second-tier competitions (VFL, WAFL, SANFL, NEAFL).
Following the Victorian government on Monday significantly relaxing the restrictions enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, the AFL is now acting with all state governments in the hope of gaining uniform approval to train.
The changes announced by the Victorian government effectively allow for the actual playing of matches from midnight on Tuesday, but the AFL will not implement that until all clubs get the all-clear to complete a three-week "pre-season".
In the update to clubs, the AFL has also referenced the savage financial cuts that will be applied to all clubs' football departments.
Within the document, there are stern warnings against both breaking the outlined procedures - so as to not risk losing the confidence of governments and medical authorities – and breaching new protocols around expenditure in the football departments.
A maximum of 24 staff will be allowed, with a doctor, psychologist and player development manager among the legislated necessary staff.
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Clubs have forecast losing half "normal" revenues, and the AFL has warned that pre-COVID-19 levels of finances may not be seen for up to five years, "if at all".
A financial limit has been placed on clubs as they set about returning to play, and the AFL has warned that a breach would result in luxury taxes being applied and it has also said financial safeguards that have been provided under new deals with banks would potentially be jeopardised.
As per "BAU (business as usual)" averages, clubs spend $730,000. Upon resumption, the AFL has told clubs they must reduce costs by 40 per cent, to about $430,000.
That figure is allowed to be increased to more than $500,000 when matches begin, which is expected to be mid to late June.