After months of uncertainty due to COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures, the AFL has given fans further insight into where this year’s AFL grand final will be played.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan today revealed that Perth has been chosen as the “back up” venue to host the event after earlier firming as one of the front-runners.
Melbourne’s MCG remains the number one venue to host the decider, with McLachlan insisting the grand final will only be played at Perth’s Optus Stadium if it cannot go ahead in Victoria due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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An official decision on the venue is expected to be made next week following discussions with the Victorian Government.
but if we are unable to play at the MCG, the grand final will be at Optus Stadium,” he said.
“Our priority will clearly be the health and safety of the Western Australia community.
“We will work through the quarantine facilities and restrictions for our playing groups and it will be an amazing venue in the event that the MCG is unavailable.”
It’s understood Optus Stadium was chosen as the preferred contingency based on the five key criteria, which included Safety, Integrity, Fans, Financial and Legacy, as well as the ability to accommodate the greatest number of supporters.
“On behalf of the AFL I would like to thank the Victorian State Government for their support and understanding as we continue to plan our 2021 Finals series,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The support of all State Governments and health officials throughout the season has allowed our game to continue throughout some really challenging circumstances.
“The Western Australian Government and Premier Mark McGowan have provided the AFL with a great backup plan, with Optus Stadium giving fans a great opportunity to attend if the match needs to move.
“We will continue planning for the Grand Final to be held at the MCG, however, today’s announcement provides us some clarity on a contingency if required.”
The Grand Final is scheduled for the MCG on Saturday 25 September.
It comes after The Gabba in Queensland last year hosted the AFL grand final for the first time ever.