PLAYERS in the VFL and VFLW competitions, as well as the NAB League and talent pathway programs, will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to take the field next year.
And the AFL has encouraged the West Australian and South Australian second-tier competitions to also adopt the vaccination policy ahead of the 2022 season.
The League released its vaccination policy for the VFL/VFLW and talent pathway programs on Wednesday, with players and staff requiring at least a first vaccination dose by November 24 and to be fully vaccinated by December 22 this year.
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The NAB League, which is the country's premier junior competition that supplies more than half of the draft pool each year, will also be subject to the rules.
Players who participate in the national championships prior to being drafted will also need to comply to the vaccination policy to facilitate interstate travel, with double vaccination required across the Australia-wide talent carnivals.
The AFL said it was also hopeful that the state leagues in South Australia and Western Australia would also take on the policy, with AFL-listed players who are not selected at AFL level having to play in those competitions.
"The AFL has written to the SANFL and WAFL to recommend a similar policy is adopted in those state league competitions," the AFL statement said.
"The AFL will continue to work with teams from states that participate in the national championships on confirming their specific dates of vaccination."
Players and staff who are not vaccinated or who do not have a medical exemption by the required dates will not be able to attend the club for training or to play, with clubs to determine the course of action for the contracts of those who do not comply.
"State-league football and the talent pathway programs play an integral part in the football ecosystem that supports the elite AFL and AFLW competitions and the AFL shares responsibility to minimise the risk of exposure of COVID-19 across these levels of football," the League's general manager of football and general counsel Andrew Dillon said.
Community football vaccination policies will be guided by each state or Territory's respective Government requirements.
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Draft hopefuls were last week asked by the AFL to inform it if they planned against being vaccinated so that the information could be shared with clubs before next week's NAB AFL Draft