irish down under

AFL and AFLW seasons to go ahead for now - behind closed doors

There are 18 Irishmen and 18 Irishwomen contracted to clubs in Oz.

THE 2020 AUSSIE Rules seasons will go ahead behind closed doors Down Under, it has been confirmed this morning.

afl-cats-eagles AAP / PA Images Laois native Zach Tuohy in action for Geelong last season. AAP / PA Images / PA Images

The Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] is currently mid-season and the 2020 AFL campaign is set to kick off next week, and all will continue, for now, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — though no fans will be permitted to attend matches for the foreseeable future.

As of tomorrow, AFL and AFLW matches will only host “players, coaches, essential club officials, umpires, AFL match day officials, essential broadcast teams, media and required venue staff with no supporters permitted to attend.”

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan confirmed the news this morning in a statement.

It reads: “The AFL acknowledges the advice of the medical authorities that there is a potential for interruption across the season. The AFL will continue to look at all fixturing alternatives to ensure both seasons are completed.

“The health and well-being of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners and communities is the priority, with the decision made following advice provided by both Federal and state governments and the State and Territory Chief Medical Officers.”

The 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season will begin Thursday night at the MCG, with 18 Irish players on the books there.

The same number are contracted to AFLW clubs, with Round 6 taking place this weekend. Given the timing, though, tonight’s clash between Geelong and North Melbourne — Mayo star Aileen Gilroy will be in action — will proceed as planned, with fans attending if they choose to.

aflw-cats-kangaroos AAP / PA Images Aileen Gilroy on the ball for North Melbourne. AAP / PA Images / PA Images

Supporters who have purchased tickets for Round 1 of the AFL will be refunded, while club, AFL and venue members will be communicated to in the coming days.

McLachlan also noted that “the AFL would continue to be guided by the most up-to-date advice while acknowledging that matters may continue to evolve,” while the league and clubs will continue to put precautionary measures in place for players and officials.

“It is important that we take the advice of those that know best, and that advice right now is to continue with matches but not to host mass gatherings which can put everyone at risk.” the CEO said.

“We have said from the outset that we will rely on the advice of the medical experts who have been planning to deal with this situation for some time and we will continue to make decisions based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officers.

“I am disappointed for our fans but we cannot put them in a situation that potentially jeopardises the health and well-being of the whole community.

“The landscape is changing quickly, each organisation has their own set of challenges, but our clubs, players, officials and fans know that the health and safety of all is the number 1 priority.”

“At an AFL club level, our football departments are elite sporting environments,” he added. 

afl-grand-final-breakfast AAP / PA Images AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. AAP / PA Images / PA Images

“Club doctors and medical staff are well equipped to work through any precautionary measures and manage any player health concerns – this is something they continue to do on a daily basis as they prepare for the season.

“We will continue to provide clubs with protocols to assist with the health and safety of players, officials and supporters. As I said, the situation is fluid and the protocols will be updated regularly to reflect this.

“We are working through a major issue that impacts the wider community and we will work with all our clubs and industry partners to ensure that footy finds a way.”

The AFL has a working group who continue to monitor the situation, while matches will continue to be broadcast.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel