The show must go on – even if no fans can participate in games for the foreseeable future.
And since AFL confirms late Wednesday night that the first round will continue, this means that Richmond and Carlton will compete against each other like no other in a season opener.
Here you will find the latest AFL updates from the developing coronavirus crisis.
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THE TELEPHONE CALL, THE FOOT SAVINGS
Federal Minister of Health Greg Hunt announced yesterday details of the AFL crisis talks that led CEO Gillon McLachlan to make an extraordinary decision to continue with footy this week as planned.
Hunt explained the conversations he and Australian Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy had had with the AFL Commission when they struggled to start a season with 17 games.
“We knew the AFL was struggling with the issue, so we offered to give the legal position and Professor Brendan Murphy to give the medical position, and essentially Gil took it in,” the health minister told Triple M. Cooked breakfast.
“We spoke to the club presidents … the legal advice is valid as long as you adhere to the 500 mass assembly rule for public events and keep it under 100 in every single room … then there was no legal barrier.
“Then it became a decision for the clubs, and especially for the players, and we said it was of the utmost importance that the players make their own decision when informed and they decided to continue.
“Our first concern was the health of the players, the safety of the officials and compliance with the rules against any other group in society.
“This was not against the rules, not against the advice of the chief medical officer for security.”
When asked for his personal opinion, Hunt suggested that this was a crucial decision for fans of the game and the community in general.
“I think this is an important step for the community,” he said.
“We cannot guarantee that this will stay like this forever … but I think at this stage, if we can have as much normalcy as possible, we want to make sure that people can have as much normalcy as possible … in this sense we six months, six difficult months, but what we can do with it, what we can do to support each other, we should do it. “
RAT EXPECTING “BALLISTIC” RATING IN REVISED AFL GAMES
Gillon McLachlan, CEO of AFL, confirmed that the first round last night will go as planned, despite the coronavirus crisis. This is part of a 17-round season (out of 23) with 16-minute quarters plus time (out of 20 minutes plus time).
Rats, on the eve of its first full season at St. Kilda’s senior trainer, gives a more fluid type of game as a result.
“You would think it would be more ballistic from the standpoint,” he told SEN Whateley.
“The turns stay the same, but the minutes give you a few extra turns.
“I think the game will increase the score a little bit, but I think the clubs need to be creative about whether … the game stops and when it stops, and then at the end of the season what it looks like and players switch and fresh players come on Keep it busy … it will be a new look. “
Rats also suggested that the changes could signal a new standard for the code.
“I think you know that some of these crises and the consequences of the corona virus may change the way we look at the game, and that could really affect our future game, you know, the game will be shorter. We have to be 22 Put weeks, ”he said.
“I think some of the questions that the AFL has always asked them could be able to test some of the things and see what they look like.”
St. Kilda meets North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon at Marvel Stadium.
FINANCIAL FAILURE WITHOUT PEOPLE, 17 ROUNDS
Collingwood President Eddie McGuire and seasoned journalist Caroline Wilson outlined the circumstances of the new AFL season. McGuire believes the coronavirus crisis has forced the AFL into a dangerous area.
“Last week at this time, if you said we would start the first round without crowds, you would only say that this is the worst day. To date it has been our best day,” said McGuire in Channel 9s Footy Classified.
“Tomorrow (Thursday) is a new day for everyone in football. The finances of the football clubs and the AFL are extremely difficult at the moment. We have never seen anything like it.
“This was an atomic bomb for the AFL. They have the best qualifications, they are the best, they are the best funded, they have the best deals, but if you don’t play football, you don’t make the money.
“We have already lost five rounds of football, you can make the sums. 1.25 to 1.5 million per game, five times, nine times, that’s a lot of money.”
THE CLUBS MOST AT RISK
Wilson outlined the most vulnerable clubs, as some are already in debt in the 2020 season.
“I would argue that nine out of 18 clubs are on the red line. And six or seven, certainly five, I would say much worse, ”said Wilson.
“We’re looking at St. Kilda Football Club with its massive debt, Melbourne isn’t great, Gold Coast and GWS obviously still have huge debt, although it has improved a lot over the past year. The North Melbourne Football Club always has problems.
“These clubs could have significant problems. There is real fear that these clubs may go under. “
When asked if all clubs would survive, McGuire said, “We are one in, all in. We want everyone to survive. We don’t want to close the doors of clubs. We don’t want to lay off staff. If we can only get away with wage cuts it will be great. “
He said McLachlan and AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder had begun discussions with Prime Minister Daniel Andrews about obtaining a line of credit to keep the league alive.
“There will be no hand because the state of Victoria has to take care of itself,” said McGuire. “But there are other machinations that can come into play. There may be a line of credit to save the AFL and not just get through this year – it will take 10 years for it to get through. “