As you saw this morning, we announced a number of fixture changes for this upcoming Round Five of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season.
The fixture changes in Round Five were a result of alterations to the Queensland Government quarantine requirements related to Victorian-based AFL teams entering the state.
We were advised that the Queensland Government was altering exemptions it had previously provided because of concerns over Melbourne’s Covid-19 hotspots.
The alteration requires that any Queensland or Queensland-based team who plays in Melbourne or against a Melbourne team in Queensland is required to quarantine after the match for 14 days if they are remaining in or returning directly to Queensland.
We have altered this week’s fixture to accommodate these changes. We will look at the implications for the fixture over the coming weeks and make further changes as required.
We want to thank the Queensland Government for working with us over the weekend and for their continued support in establishing the High Performance Centres in Queensland that allowed us to resume the season.
We want to extend that thanks to all Governments around the country for their support in helping us resume the season in a manner that not only protects players and staff but also – most importantly – the wider community.
We also said at the start that while we are a game, the main game was keeping the community safe and all our decision-making – and the development of our strict protocols– has been anchored in the advice of Government and the Chief Health Officers. And it will continue to be so.
We also said at the start that this season would be a season like no other and that we were going to have to be flexible and agile throughout this season in order to play all the 144 games of the season plus finals that remained when we resumed. It is why we changed the length of quarters and reduced the length of the season.
In football people love predictability, order and routine. This is a season where predictability, order and routine has been difficult.
Flexibility and agility are going to be the key traits needed to navigate the challenges provided by the Covid-19 pandemic and the different situations in each of the states and territories where we play.
We are all going to have to get used to not having predictability, order and routine. That is what season 2020 is all about – it’s a challenge. And those who accept and adapt to the challenge – those who show their resilience - will be those who will do best.
At the very start of this crisis we planned a number of contingencies to look at how we would get our games away in a manner and in locations where it was safe to do so.
As situations have changed in various states, so has our response. We find a way. We will continue to do so in a calm, controlled way.
We have remained flexible and agile and will continue to do so as we work our way through completing the remaining 118 games of the home and away season plus finals.
One thing we do know is that there will be more challenges. And with every challenge, football will find a way through.
I have spoken to the clubs today to make them aware of the changes with Queensland and how we are responding.
I also thanked the clubs for embracing the challenge and working with us very quickly to find a way through in the last 24 hours and realising that we just have to deal with any change and respond to it. It is a test for all at the AFL and all clubs and I want to thank all who have accepted the challenge and the resilience they have shown.
And finally I want to thank our fans for their support throughout this season.