VICTORIAN footy fans have received a major boost ahead of round two with crowd limits lifted to 75 per cent of stadium capacity - raising the prospect of the world's biggest sporting crowd since COVID-19 hit.
The move announced by the Victorian Government on Tuesday morning will ensure 75,000 fans will be able to attend Thursday night's Carlton-Collingwood blockbuster at the MCG.
"That's (the world's biggest crowd since COVID-19) an exciting prospect," AFL fixture boss Travis Auld told reporters.
"I know in round one, we had the biggest crowd at a sporting event in Australia since the pandemic hit us.
"So that's a big moment in this country, and to increase that further this weekend with a couple of really big games starting this Thursday night will be a wonderful achievement for the people of Melbourne and more broadly for this country.
"... (The) 75,000 (capacity) certainly gives us the capacity to have the largest crowd at a sporting event since COVID has hit."
It will also allow a capacity of 43,440 to attend matches at Marvel Stadium from this weekend and 27,819 for Geelong's Friday night date with Brisbane at GMHBA Stadium. Mars Stadium in Ballarat, where the Western Bulldogs host Brisbane on April 10, will be allowed 8335 fans.
The move comes less than 24 hours after the AFL conceded on Monday it was unlikely crowd restrictions would be eased in time for round two.
Matches returned in Victoria in round one with crowds at 50 per cent capacity.
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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan thanked the Victorian Government for their assistance in getting fans back to the footy safely.
"As men's footy returned across the weekend you could really feel the excitement in the air throughout Melbourne. It felt like the rhythm of the city had returned and the announcement today should only amplify this," he said.
"In round one, to have the biggest crowd at a sporting event in Australia since the COVID pandemic is a testament to the passion and support of footy fans and I know we will only build on that number in the coming weeks."
McLachlan previously flagged hopes for a full house at the traditional Anzac Day clash - though Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said achieving 100 per cent capacity would be difficult.
"For very large venues, getting 100 per cent is pretty tricky," Professor Sutton said on Tuesday.
"You've got to maintain those hard zones and so you do need that space to be able to have the infrastructure to separate people.
"But we'll continue to review how things are going at 75 per cent."
The final round of AFLW games in Victoria - with matches at Whitten Oval, Arden Street and Casey Fields - will continue to operate with COVID-safe plans to ensure the maximum number of supporters can safely attend the footy in line with Victorian Government regulations.
Larger fully seated stadiums including GMHBA Stadium, Marvel Stadium and the MCG are classified by the Victorian Government as Tier 1 venues and are permitted 75 per cent capacity for both men's and women's matches played at those stadiums.
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- with AAP
New ticketing allocations at MCG and Marvel Stadium
Club Members/General Public – 41,300
MCC Members – 17,000
AFL Members – 15,000
Corporate – 1,500
Total – 75,000
Club Members/General Public – 33,640
AFL Members – 4,500
Medallion Club – 4,500
Corporate – 800
Total – 40,800