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Gillion McLachlan

How Are The AFL Handling The Latest Victorian Lockdown?

T
he Australian Football League (AFL) have announced changes in both attendance and locations of various games this week due to the seven-day Victorian lockdown.

The AFL confirmed that all round 11 matches in Victoria will continue, with no fans in attendance.

The Friday night game between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons will go ahead as all Melbourne staff and players tested negative for COVID-19.

The club needed to be tested before the game could be confirmed as a Demons player visited a tier 1 exposure site on Sunday.

AFL chief executive, Gillon McLachlan, said that the league was going to operate with the same mindset as the 2020 season.

“The changes this week have been necessary to best deal with the evolving situation in Victoria and we thank the Victorian state government for allowing us to proceed with matches minus crowds this weekend,” McLachlan said.

“The changes are in place for this round only and the AFL will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days before making any decisions on future rounds.

“It is disappointing for fans in Victoria to not be able to attend the footy this weekend, but the events of the last 24 hours reiterate the reasons why we have put in place the contact tracing requirements at matches – all to best keep fans and the community as safe as possible as we continue to navigate through the pandemic.

“Even though it is not rolling out as we planned, this weekend’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round is an important recognition and we look forward to celebrating the brilliance of all Indigenous players, past and present over the next two weekends,” he said.

This is the second major change of the 2021 AFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Western Australia teams, West Coast and Fremantle, having to play with no crowds due to the Perth lockdown in April as well as a game relocation in round 8 from Optus Stadium to The Gabba.

There is a likely chance that more games will need to be rescheduled following round 11, depending on the results of the lockdown as well as number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria.