AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has called hubs a “last resort” as the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria continues to grow and the state’s lockdown is expected to be extended.
The AFL recently confirmed that no games will take place in Victoria in Round 12 due to the state’s lockdown amid a rise in coronavirus cases. However if the lockdown is extended it could affect the AFL’s schedule beyond Round 12.
Last night the AFL Players’ Association reportedly told their members they would not spend any more than three weeks away and the email included a video from McLachlan addressing the prospect of hubs returning.
“I want to say specifically that we are not envisaging hubs. They are a last term resort,” McLachlan said in the video according to The Age.
AFL clubs scramble after Victoria lockdown confirmed
“We think we can navigate through the next few weeks with surges here and there. One, two, three weeks [on the road], max.
“We’ll get you back and we’ll work our way through this. Please don’t think hubs are on the near-term agenda because they’re not.
“They are a last resort and I want you guys to know that.”
AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh told players in the email that they have been in communication with the league and “made it clear” that long-term hubs were a concern and assured players the situation “won’t escalate to the levels we saw in 2020”.
“We are working though fixturing options on a daily basis,” Marsh said.
“As part of these options, players should expect that they may need to spend some time away from home if the Victorian lockdown continues. While this will mainly impact Victorian-based players, it will impact the fixturing for all teams.
“We hope the three-week scenario isn’t required and we can return to normal fixturing and travel, but we believe it’s important that you have an understanding of the potential scenarios so that you and your families can prepare for what is ahead.”
Last week it was confirmed that the traditional Dreamtime at the G game between Essendon and Richmond will now be played at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
This weekend Brisbane and the Demons will play at Giants Stadium on Friday night, while St Kilda face the Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Collingwood are expected to play the Crows in Adelaide after getting clearance from the South Australian government.
Fremantle’s clash with the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon completes the Round 12 action.
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