Return date set
ALL AFL players will be tested for coronavirus twice a week as the competition resumes on June 11, the league’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan says.
Players will resume modified training from Monday in groups of up to eight, with full contact training from May 25, McLachlan says.
An initial four-week block of fixtures will be released within 10 days.
Four clubs – West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide – will be based in hubs on Queensland’s Gold Coast for the early part of the season resumption.
“Our 2020 AFL premiership season will resume on Thursday June 11,” McLachlan told reporters in Mebourne on Friday.
“Today is a significant step in getting footy back for everyone … we know as this situation continues to evolve we have to be agile and continue to adapt as necessary.
“Importantly we must not place any burden on the public health system.”
The AFL season – already shortened to 17 rounds – was suspended on March 22 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
McLachlan said all players and football department staff would be tested for COVID-19 twice every week – one test would be held within 24 hours of a club’s weekly main contact training session.
Players would also be subjected to daily health checks by club doctors.
“We have daily screening by the doctors of every single player on the list,” McLachan said.
“We have bi-weekly testing of every player (with one test) at least 24 hours before the contact session and we will have the results back before they’re allowed to do contact sessions or play games.
“And there are a whole series of other measures.
“All of those will then determine if there is an infection, who has had close contact and what actually plays out after that.”
South Australia is the only state yet to grant approval for its AFL players to resume contact training.
McLachlan said SA’s stance meant the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide would have to enter their hub on the Gold Coast ahead of May 25.
West Coast and Fremantle have been allowed contact training, but border restrictions mean the Perth clubs can’t fly in and fly out when games resume – the same scenario as in SA.
The families of players would be permitted to stay at the hubs, McLachlan said.
“It’s an exciting day for our clubs and our supporters,” he said.
“(But) … the return to footy doesn’t mean the work is complete, we must continue to follow the advice of the governments.”
(C) AAP 2020