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Victorian COVID lockdown forces AFL to change weekend fixture plans

Victorian COVID lockdown forces AFL to change weekend fixture plans
May 28, 2021

The Victorian Government’s seven-day lockdown of the state is forcing the AFL to make changes in both attendance and locations of various games over the coming weekend, confirming that all round 11 Premiership matches in Victoria will continue, but with no fans in attendance.

With the lockdown having commenced as of midnight, tonight’s game between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium will be the first to go ahead under the new lockdown conditions.

All Demons staff and players have been tested today for COVID-19, reportedly all returning negative results, as a result of one of its players having visited a tier 1 exposure site on Sunday.

Advising that the League was going to operate with the same mindset as the 2020 season, AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan stated “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.

“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.”

This is the second significant change for the AFL’s 2021 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.

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11th March 2021 - AFL aims for 2021 grand final to return as a full capacity daytime fixture at the MCG

2nd March 2021 - Queensland Government and AFL launch $8 million partnership to support community facilities and participation

26th February 2021 - MCG set to welcome 50,000 fans for AFL season opener

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11th January 2021 - Study finds impacts of AFL players concussion last longer than previously thought

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27th December 2020 - Telstra looks to make Marvel Stadium one of the world’s most connected sporting venues

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