The AFL has unveiled its plans for a season restart, announcing June 11 as the kick-off date.
All 18 teams will return to training from Monday, and will resume full-contact training in a week’s time.
Most teams will be based out of their home states with strict health protocols in place, except for West Coast Eagles, Fremantle, Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide.
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Due to restrictions in Western Australia and South Australia, those teams would not have been able to travel interstate for matches.
“They’ll be based on the Gold Coast for an initial period of at least four weeks, and the AFL will continue to remain responsive with fixturing so it can respond to any changes to restrictions in either state.
“Players will be able to host family members at any stage during the time away from home, which will be funded by the AFL.
“The AFL has agreed that the players will continue to review the arrangements in consultation with the AFLPA, the Western Australian and South Australian governments.
“We know we’re going to need to retain maximum flexibility with the fixtures to allow for home games in each state should circumstances change.
“I feel confident that how we start is not how we will finish,” Mr McLachlan said.
It’s understood that every household of every player will be constantly monitored, to ensure that social distancing requirements are consistently met.
McLachlan went on to say that a lot of work has gone in to the protocols that ensure the safety of players, support staff, and the general public.
“The AFL will implement protocols over and above the government restrictions to protect the health and safety of every member of our industry and the wider community.
“These have been developed with the advice of the federal, state and territory governments, along with the relevant chief health officers, as well as the AFL’s own medical team, and with consultation with players, coaches, and clubs.
“We have had resilience measures in place over the last eight weeks, and the protocols cover the protection of players, officials, and staff across training, travel, and matches, as well as the restrictions in place when away from their club bases.
“We will continue to consult closely on the protocols and make the relevant updates when required. This is an exciting day for our clubs and for our supporters,” Mr McLachlan said.
Collingwood and Richmond are tipped to play the opening match on Thursday June 11 at the MCG, while the rest of the first matches in the new fixture will be released publicly next week.