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State lockdowns sees all 18 AFL clubs relocate to Victoria
The AFL has announced that all 18 of the League’s clubs will relocate to Victoria as a result of the rise in Coronavirus cases and lockdowns in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
Heading into round 16 of the Premiership, the AFL announced both the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide will travel to Victoria this afternoon via a charter flight this afternoon after making the initial decision for the Brisbane Lions, Fremantle, Gold Coast SUNS and the West Coast Eagles to travel to Victoria on Tuesday.
The two South Australia clubs are flying to Melbourne despite the five new COVID-19 cases in Adelaide not prompting the South Australian Government to announce a lockdown.
However, with lockdowns in other states, AFL Executive General Manager of clubs and broadcasting, Travis Auld, said the league will continue to closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation across the country and make decisions accordingly.
Auld advised “bringing the two South Australian teams to Victoria today minimises risk for the competition as we progress the season in a constantly changing environment.
“As of this evening we will have all 18 teams in Victoria and, as a competition, we will continue to remain adaptable where required.
“The two teams travelling today will fly to Victoria via a charter flight and will remain in the state ahead of this round’s matches.
“While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, we will work closely with state governments, health officials, our clubs and players to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game.”
Auld emphasised that the move to Victoria for all 18 AFL clubs is vastly different to the 2020 season which saw all teams moved to Queensland due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down borders to Victoria.
Changes to the fixture schedule will result in the match between Fremantle and Carlton not now being played in Launceston.
While Port's clash with Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on Saturday will go ahead as planned, but a new venue will need to be found for Adelaide's game, previously scheduled for the Adelaide Oval, against the Brisbane Lions.
The Suns' Thursday night home clash with Richmond has already been moved from Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast to Marvel Stadium.
The relocation has led to the Victorian Government’s expected allowance of a rise in stadium crowds and theatre capacities in the state to be put on hold for another seven days.
Victorian Health Minister, Martin Foley told Melbourne radio station 3AW today that with the national COVID-19 situation “extremely delicately poised” at the moment “we are not increasing restrictions, as other states around the Australian mainland are, but what we are doing is holding them where they are to make sure that we keep Victorians safe.”
Giving a fan perspective on the AFL’s relocation of clubs, Melbourne-based Wayne Driscoll commented "after 39 years ... the VFL back".
16th June 2021 - COVID-19 lockdown sees AFL move Melbourne fixtures to Tasmania
26th May 2021 - Fans to get Coronavirus tests after Marvel Stadium alert
6th May 2021 - AFL clubs reach one million members for 2021
21st April 2021 - State of Origin returns to Optus Stadium in 2022
13th April 2021 - Uncertainty over Victorian stadia returning to full capacity
17th March 2021 - Marvel Stadium to sell $2 pies during AFL season Rounds One and Two
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