AFL scrap five games from fixture list, but this week's curtain-raisers not postponed yet

State Leagues around Australia will begin in May, but Gillon McLachlan will meet with stakeholders in the next 24 hours to decide if this weekend’s AFL openers go ahead.

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THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL League season may still kick off this week despite CEO Gillon McLachlan announcing a reduced 17-game schedule for the tournament.

With Thursday’s scheduled season-opener between Carlton and Richmond already slated to take place behind closed doors, McLachlan said further meetings were necessary to determine if the opening weekend of matches would proceed.

State leagues around Australia, meanwhile, have been pushed back to begin in May.

“It continues to be a fluid situation; we have not made a final decision on the men’s and women’s commitment to this weekend,” said McLachlan.

“We have meetings with clubs, players and industry partners in the next 24 hours.”

At a press conference, McLachlan said the reduced season gave the AFL flexibility to play itself out within 2020.

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“We’ve got 40 weeks to get a 17-week season away until the end of 2020 … and we’ll use every one of those weekends, days … we’ll do whatever we need to do.

“We have flexibility now with a 17-round season that buys us more time. If it’s done by the end of September, fabulous, but if we need more time, we’ll do that.”

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