THE AFL has all but conceded there will be no further home and away matches played in Victoria in 2020.
In a video hook-up with club CEOs on Wednesday morning, AFL bosses revealed that eight of the 10 Victorian clubs would be based in Queensland for the remainder of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season, with two of the 10 - currently Collingwood and Geelong, soon to be Hawthorn and Carlton – based for short-term periods in Perth.
Rounds seven and eight of the 2020 season are already fixtured, and will stay as planned. Rounds 9-17 will be condensed.
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With the agreement by the Queensland government to house the Victorian clubs, the sunshine state is now in the box-seat to host the 2020 Grand Final.
Sydney and GWS Giants will remain in Sydney for now, but with the COVID-19 infection rate pushing toward alarming levels, those two teams may too be evacuated to Queensland.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday revealed she had spoken with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan about the Victorian clubs' situation.
In a statement released on social media, Premier Palaszczuk said: "I stress none of these measures can happen without strict quarantine protocols and the COVID management plan that has allowed the AFL season to proceed.
"This is another way Queensland is helping Victoria … given the choice between not having a season and having it based in Queensland I think I know what the fans would like to happen.
"It means more Queenslanders can see more games.
"… And, as I told Gill, if the season is based here then the Grand Final should be played here too."
The fixturing of matches beyond round eight will incorporate matches on all days of the week.
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During Wednesday's meeting, some clubs sought an assurance that the rounds leading into the finals – rounds 16 and 17 – revert to the traditional Thursday-Sunday scheduling.
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The proposed date of the Grand Final remains October 24, but like everything else this season, it cannot be locked in.
One of the many major concerns for the AFL and its Victorian clubs remains the significant distraction that will be caused when and if the teams return to Victoria.
There will be no problems getting the teams back home, but quarantine requirements and border shutdowns in other states in getting them back out may prove impossible.