The AFL has made several changes to the upcoming Toyota AFL Premiership Season Round Five fixture for this week as a result of changes to the Queensland Government quarantine requirements related to Victorian-based AFL teams entering the state.
The AFL was advised that the Queensland Government was altering exemptions it had previously provided because of concerns over Melbourne’s Covid-19 hotspots.
The alteration requires that any Queensland or Queensland-based team who plays in Melbourne or against a Melbourne team in Queensland is required to quarantine after the match for 14 days if they are remaining in or returning directly to Queensland.
As a result, the AFL has adjusted this week’s fixture with Carlton now playing St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night. The West Coast Eagles will now play Sydney Swans at Metricon Stadium on Saturday and Richmond are now playing Melbourne on Sunday at the MCG.
AFL General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting Travis Auld said the AFL will continue to work with the Queensland Government and other Governments along with broadcasters and clubs to make any alterations to the fixture to accommodate the changed conditions in Queensland.
“I want to thank the Queensland Government and the Chief Health Officer for their support of the AFL season and for helping us to make the changes this week that are in line with their quarantine requirements related to Covid-19 hotspots,” Mr Auld said.
“Since the beginning of this Covid-19 pandemic we have said consistently that every decision we make will be anchored in the advice of Government and the Chief Health Officers and that we would always rely on their advice in developing the strict protocols we have in place to ensure we protect the wider community as well as our players and staff.
“We understand the decision of the Queensland Government and thank them for their support in developing the High-Performance Centres that allowed us to bring Fremantle, West Coast Eagles, Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide to the state to allow our season to resume.
“We take seriously the role we need to play as a national leader in ensuring the Covid-19 virus is contained and we will continue to work with Government and the medical experts to conduct our season in a way that prioritises and promotes community safety.”
Mr Auld also thanked the clubs – West Coast Eagles, Richmond, Melbourne and the Sydney Swans, as well as Carlton and St Kilda, for their flexibility in helping with fixture changes.
“The need to be flexible and agile has guided our thinking to this stage and the reason we reduced quarters and reduced the length of our season was in expectation that there would be further challenges to our season as we moved to complete the remaining matches,” Mr Auld said.
There remain 118 matches to play plus finals and the AFL will continue to work with Governments, health authorities, broadcasters, clubs, players and staff to develop a fixture that delivers the season based on the advice of those Governments and health authorities.
The AFL will work through the implications for the following rounds before announcing any changes required for Round Six and Round Seven.
“We knew we would have to be flexible and agile in 2020 and we will continue to be flexible and agile as we find our way through. I also want to thank our Players, Clubs and staff for their support of the protocols that have been introduced to ensure the safety of all,” Mr Auld said.
“I also want to thank our fans for their support and their patience and say we will work as quickly as we can to provide you with information on our next steps."