AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan has issued a statement on the future of the 2020 series warning a five round reduction was likely, reducing the season to just 17 rounds.
Speaking to the press on Monday, McLachlan said a final decision regarding the fixture would be issued yesterday, but was not confirmed at the time of The Guardian going to print.
He noted the national league’s priority was on the wellbeing of players, staff and the community as a whole.
“This is — and will be — a difficult time for the whole of the Australian public,” he said.
“And we know that the impact of coronavirus will affect some in our community in a much more serious way than for others.
“In facing this unprecedented and difficult time, all of our clubs, players, broadcasters and corporate partners are determined and united.
“We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down — and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.
“And we are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods in our football family.”
McLachlan went on to outline the plans of adjustments to the 2020 season.
“The decisions we have made give us flexibility across the 2020 year, and we will stay closely in touch with government and health authorities as we face into the next few months,” he said.
“The state league competitions across the country — VFL, SANFL, NEAFL, WAFL, TSL, men's and women's, and all national and state talent programs will delay the start of their seasons until the end of May.”
“Given the uncertainty of what lies ahead and to give us maximum flexibility while preserving the integrity of the competition, the Toyota AFL Premiership Season will be reduced to 17 rounds; every team will play each other once.
“It continues to be a fluid situation; we have not made a final decision on the men's and women's commitment to this weekend, we have meetings with clubs, players and industry partners in the next 24 hours.”
He also said the idea of supplementary playing lists (players from any state league across the country) being available to clubs was a possibility.
Should a decision be made to delay the start of a reduced 17 round season, the first match scheduled for tomorrow night would not be played before May 31.
McLachlan also spoke of the importance of football to the community and the resilience needed in the coming months.
“We know what football means to everyone,” he said.
“And we understand how difficult these decisions are for you — in particular during a time of uncertainty and anxiety.
“Australian Rules Football is resilient.
“Football has had many challenges and despite the size of this one, football will find a way through.
“We are a game but we are not the main game.
“The main game is looking after the community and keeping people safe and that is the clear priority for everyone at the moment.
“At the moment, we know there is a lot of uncertainty but one thing we know is we will get a season away.
“The circumstances mean it will look different, but our commitment is for it to be fair.
“The reality is, we don't have all answers at the moment.
“But what I do know is football has been around for over 160 years, we have been challenged and tested but footy will find a way…we always do.”
Coronavirus fears a new prison fact, says County Court judge
By Allan Murphyamurphy@sunraysiadaily. com. auA COUNTY Court judge has acknowledged it appears inevitable the coronavirus pandemic will strike Victoria’s prison system when sentencing a man who was caught trafficking methamphetamines in Mildura. In...