CLUBS have gained a mini-victory, with permission from the AFL to increase the head count in their off-field football staff.
As of June 1, 27 staff will be allowed in each club's football department, with that number increased to 28 if a club wants to include a second doctor on its books.
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For matches, clubs will be allowed to employ 30 off-field staff as well as three media department officials.
Clubs were told they'd likely be allowed eight staff members in the coaches box and 11 on the interchange bench - down from 12 previously allowed.
The changes were outlined to club football operations bosses in a video conference hosted by AFL general manager football operations Steve Hocking on Thursday.
In that meeting, Hocking also confirmed that the roof at Marvel Stadium would be shut for all matches at the venue in 2020.
The AFL had previously legislated that only 25 football department staff could be used as part of the protocols governing the game for the resumption of the 2020 post the COVID-19 enforced suspension.
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A final decision on the amount of players allowed for matches will be delivered by Hocking next Thursday, seven days before the season is to resume with the June 11 Collingwood-Richmond match.
Several coaches have lobbied aggressively for an increase of two extra interchange players.
The AFL has committed to a daily review of all the protocols to be used for the remainder of 2020, and it remains hopeful that the Western Australian and South Australian teams forced into a hub on the Gold Coast for rounds two to five will eventually be allowed by their state governments to return home.
The decision to increase the staff numbers could be viewed as a positive for those four teams – West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide – as all had wanted to take more than 25 football department staff to the Gold Coast.
In the video conference on Thursday, Hocking thanked the clubs for their co-operation in dealing with the strict new rules governing the game.