The rise in cases of COVID-19 in Melbourne will see all 10 Victorian teams relocate out of the state at the conclusion of this weekend's fixtures.
With the AFL facing significant challenges in ensuring is season is able to continue amid Melbourne's expanding Coronavirus outbreak, six AFL clubs will relocate from Melbourne to Queensland with the remainder set to move to NSW and Western Australia.
With South and Western Australian teams currently in a training hub on the Gold Coast; St Kilda, North Melbourne, Essendon, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Carlton will relocate from Melbourne for at least the next block of fixtures.
Advising of the relocation, AFL Chief Executive, Gillion McLachlan advised today "every day we will throw up a different challenge. We have a different fixture today then we had yesterday, and the situation has changed across Australia, so must our response. Talk about being flexible and agile, and we will continue to ensure that our decisions will keep in mind the advice of governments and health authorities.
"Those same governments and health authorities have been instrumental in ensuring that our competition continues, but it is slightly different format.
"Part of the revised fixture is to temporarily relocate all 10 Victorian based teams out of the state for 32 or so days, and move them to bases in Queensland, NSW, in Western Australia, where they will undergo the various quarantine measures while also continuing to adhere to the strict protocols the AFL has in place.
"By the end of Monday, 14 clubs will have temporarily moved out of Victoria for the next block of matches. As you can imagine it has been a major logistical exercise to organise fixture, source training grounds and secure accommodation in such a short period of time."
The AFL told the ABC the move would be for a 32-day block from round six, followed by a "reset".
With four teams would be based on the Gold Coast and two on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the relocation would make Queensland "the home of the AFL"
Premier Palaszczuk said all players and staff would undergo a 14-day quarantine after arriving in the state, although teams within the Queensland bubble would be able to play each other before that.
She added "the AFL know and respect what is expected of them and as long as they follow our rules, we are glad to help the competition proceed.
"It's also an opportunity for fans to see their favourite teams and take advantage of newly increased capacities allowed at our stadiums.
The AFL confirmed an updated fixture list for rounds six and seven of the season, with all matches in round six taking place in NSW and Queensland.
While South Australia said it would not host a hub, in round seven, the Adelaide Oval will also be used for matches, along with Perth's Optus Stadium.
Round five will continue as scheduled, with Victorian teams flying to their respective hubs after this weekend's fixtures.
In the A-League, Melbourne’s three clubs remain hopeful they’ll be able to avoid heading into a NSW hub until after they’ve completed their remaining fixtures against each other.
Western United and Melbourne Victory will restart the season on 16th July, before United play Melbourne City on 20th July.
Images: AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan (top) and Brisbane's The Gabba (below).
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