The four AFL clubs required to enter self-quarantine hubs in order to restart the 2020 season will be housed in two of the Gold Coast’s premier golf resorts.
West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide, and Port Adelaide will get private and full access to the resort facilities, at Palm Meadows and Royal Pines.
The complexes are both in close proximity to Metricon Stadium, the Gold Coast Suns’ home base.
Players set up in hubs will have a strict set of guidelines to live by, with their requirements different to those returning to their clubs.
This move comes after the South Australia (SA) government denied both Adelaide and Port Adelaide the chance to bypass the stat’s 14-day self-isolation rules for arrivals and rejected contact training until June 8.
The AFL continues to reportedly aim for a June 11 return match, but some players and clubs believe due to the setbacks brought from the Western Australia and SA, that that date is now all but out of reach.
Port Adelaide chairman, David Koch, said his team’s preference was to set up base in Queensland ahead of the seasons’ restart.
“It will put us at a sever disadvantage to the big Melbourne clubs and other interstate clubs along with the Western Australia clubs, but that will make victory even sweeter to get over those hurdles,” Koch said in an interview on Channel Seven.
“Because we still need to represent South Australia in the AFL.
“What’s the option?” he said.
Adelaide Crows football director, Mark Ricciuto, told Triple M the SA government’s decision blindsided a lot of people.
“I didn’t go to sleep real quick last night,” Ricciuto said.
“That was a shot [that] blindsided a lot of people late yesterday.
“As of this morning, I think the Adelaide Football Club will be preparing to play in hubs outside of Adelaide for pre-the games starting and maybe up to the first five weeks of the footy season so they can get some certainty in the program for the AFL,” he said.
The letter from the SA government announcing it’s decisions of the SA teams, was signed by SA chief public health officer Professor, Nicola Spurrier, and SA Commissioner of Police, Grant Stevens, and was delivered on behalf of the state’s committee formed to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19.
The letter said:
On public health advice, the Committee has resolved that any economic and social benefits to be gained by allowing modification or exemptions to SA quarantine requirements for AFL players and staff were not outweighed by the public health risk.
This means that on entering South Australia, AFL players and staff would be required to quarantine for 14 days, without leaving the property at which they are quarantining.
We acknowledge that for the AFL to recommence fixtures on its preferred timeframe this may require players and staff to travel to an alternate location for the medium term (Hub Model).
The Committee also agreed that the restrictions on training for sport in South Australia should apply equally to the AFL.
In South Australia, at Step 1 until 8 June, allows non-contact training in groups of up to 10.
In addition to a modification or exemption being considered an unnecessary public health risk in South Australia, the Committee noted that as a highly visible part of society it is also important that the AFL model the behaviours expected from the public in general.
The risk of complacency within the wider community rises if it is that these measures have diminished in importance.