THE AFL is refusing to shut the door on matches being played in front of fans this season as state governments continue to lift restrictions on gatherings.
The thought of crowds attending venues this season had been an afterthought just last month, but already clubs and stadiums are preparing the prospect of hosting crowds.
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Victoria announced on the weekend it would soon allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people from June 22 in response to COVID-19. By comparison Western Australia currently allows for groups of up to 20 with South Australia to follow from June 8.
The Northern Territory has already said it would welcome fans attending AFL matches.
One model being discussed would have fans sitting inside stadiums at an adequate distance apart with different times to be communicated for certain sections of the crowd to arrive.
"Things are changing quickly. The first block of games has been done on the basis that there isn't the ability for crowds," AFL GM of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said on Monday.
"If that changes, we'd be the first to embrace that.
"Whether it's a sense where we can fill stadiums or there's something in between what we're used to, we're not sure yet.
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"Any opportunity to have fans attend fans, and I'm sure clubs would love to reward members or fans, if there's smaller groups we'll certainly embrace."
Clubs are already making plans for 'virtual' fans to be connected at games from round two.
And after Marvel Stadium was forced to open its roof in round one matches deemed as an 'indoor gathering', the AFL is set to receive clearance to shut it from round two onwards.
"My understanding is that the Victorian government is prepared to look at closing the roof at Marvel Stadium," Auld said.
"That's a big win if that becomes the case certainly throughout this winter period we're looking at it'll just provide better conditions for our players.
"Certainly we've received some positive discussions and looking likely."
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said last week the Grand Final was due to be played at the MCG or Marvel Stadium due to an agreement with the Victorian government.