The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has announced both the AFL and the Melbourne Storm will be cleared to train in groups of 10 from Wednesday.
This announcement comes as Victoria eases it’s COVID-19 restrictions, allowing groups of 10 to partake in sport and exercise as long as they abide by social distancing.
“There has been a lot of work between the AFL and the public health team,” Andrews said.
“We have agreed to a set of arrangements which will allow training for AFL, for rugby league, and for other professional sports to resume from just before midnight tomorrow night.
“With that happening, that paves the way for the AFL and other codes to make announcements.
“It paves the way for footy to be back and I think we all want that, provided it is safe and appropriate,” he said.
Andrews also indicated professional sports may be able to bypass the social gathering restrictions still in place by putting forth self-containment proposals.
“What we have done is said that each sport, and obviously sports are different, will put in place what (their own) plans are… but they must be self-contained,” he said.
“If they are using a training facility or a gym or an outdoor area, it must be exclusively for them.
“We can’t have a situation where there is a carve-out for professional sport because of their workplace, because it’s basically our job, we can’t have a carve-out and then have other people not connected to that sport intermingling, if you like.
“This is about containment.
“It is about managing the risk, and in the event that there are positive tests, we are in a strong position to be able to contact trace and take appropriate public health measures are deemed so.
“This is exclusively for those sports, and they need to have to control the space their in and they need to listen to the advice of the chief health officers, but a very positive partnership, not just with footy, but with rugby league, other codes, and I’m confident that they understand that there are risks,” Andrews said.
Despite this development, the Victorian AFL clubs that this announcement directly affects could be forced to wait for their interstate competitors to be given similar exemptions from their respective state governments.
The AFL Commission is meeting today to continue the work on its return to play plan and is reportedly closing in on mid-late June as a prospective date for the competition to resume.