THE 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final will be played at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday, September 25.
The ongoing lockdown in Victoria amid a COVID-19 outbreak has meant hosting the Grand Final at its traditional MCG venue isn't a viable option for the second year in a row.
The Brownlow Medal function will also be held in Perth on Sunday, September 19 to kick off the Grand Final week celebrations.
CEO Gillon McLachlan revealed last week that the West Australian venue would play host if the MCG was unable to accomodate the event and that decision was made on Tuesday morning.
The AFL will now send an operational staff of between 25 and 30 people to Perth to work with stakeholders on the ground and ensure the League put on "an amazing spectacle" at Optus Stadium.
McLachlan was joined by Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to confirm that the League's showpiece game would be held in WA for the first time.
Despite the Grand Final's two-year absence from Victoria, McLachlan said the game would return to the MCG in 2022.
"As the pandemic continued to challenge us, we looked at all the possibilities around holding the 2021 Grand Final at the MCG," McLachlan said on Tuesday.
"It has become clear as we continue to navigate through these challenges that it wouldn't be in the best interests of the community to host a Grand Final at the MCG this year in front of a crowd.
"To all Victorians, we will be back at the MCG bigger and better in 2022."
McLachlan said the Grand Final would not start at the traditional time of 2.30pm AEST due to time difference with Perth, and the League would now work through the best option with its stakeholders to confirm a time as soon as possible.
Asked about contingencies in the event of a WA lockdown between now and Grand Final day, McLachlan that scenario would have been a hurdle for any venue chosen.
"What we won't do is play a Grand Final in front of no people, so we'll work through that if it happens," he said.
"We feel we're in safe hands, but we know there's a risk and if it happens we'll deal with it."
Mr Pakula said "it wouldn't be responsible" to rush crowds back to the football in time for an MCG Grand Final this year, and the decision had been made in the best interests of the game.
"If the Grand Final can be played in front of supporters, then it should be," he said.
Mr Pakula said the contract to hold the AFL Grand Final at the MCG had been extended by another year until 2059.
The AFL will also schedule an extra eight matches at the venue across the next five seasons, 2022-26, and take more home-and-away games to regional Victoria during both the AFL and AFLW seasons.
In announcing Optus Stadium as this year's Grand Final venue, McLachlan also confirmed a bye would be placed between the preliminary finals and the season decider.
The Brownlow Medal function on the Sunday before the big game will kick off a Grand Final week in Perth that will ideally include a parade of some sort.
"This is the single biggest day of sport on the Australian calendar, and we want to do it properly," McLachlan said.
"Perth is going to do it properly and we're going to lead in properly. That's the opportunity by playing in Western Australia and that's what we'll do.
"It's going to be a big week. The logistics of a full parade are challenging, but we'll have an opportunity to present the teams and celebrate this Cup that is so hard fought and won."