THE 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final will return to its traditional timeslot and home.
AFL club presidents were told on Wednesday afternoon the game would start at 2.30pm on Saturday September 25 at the MCG.
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It is hoped that a capacity 100,000 spectators will be able to attend, pending COVID-19 protocols which last year forced the AFL to schedule a couple of firsts – a Grand Final played at night, at a venue outside of Victoria, the Gabba.
In isolation, the 2020 Grand Final was a resounding success, and just reward for the preparedness of the state of Queensland to allow the home-and-away season to continue when other states had shut their borders. The half-time entertainment clearly benefited from the light show spectacle.
But it was always the intent of AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and the AFL Commission to return the 2021 match to a daytime fixture, largely as an acknowledgment to the rusted-on fans who love the ritual of a day game to determine the season's premier team.
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The AFL Commission met on Wednesday to formalise its 2021 Grand Final position before informing the clubs.
McLachlan said the AFL Commission had decided to return to the traditional timeslot after a season that had been like none other in the game's history.
"Ultimately, the AFL Commission decided that while we will keep some of the unique components of the 2020 season, the prestige, nostalgia and atmosphere of the day Grand Final is something that people can look forward to.
"Wherever they are located around Australia, we want to give footy fans that familiar feeling back on Grand Final Day – a Saturday afternoon start-time, the build-up, the anticipation, friends, family and the BBQ in the backyard, all combining to make it the best event on the Australian sporting calendar.
"We still have a lot of work as a league and a community to get the finish line, but I would love nothing more to see 100,000 back at the MCG on the last Saturday in September."