Sydney, May 15 (IANS) Aussie sport fans received the news on Friday that the Australian Football League (AFL) will return to their screens as of June 11, after being suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan told reporters that all 18 clubs would resume full-contact training as of May 25, with fixtures to be released in blocks of four to six weeks, reports Xinhua news agency.
Players and staff will be tested for the COVID-19 prior to returning to the field and will be educated in the rigorous ongoing protocols being implemented, including twice weekly testing, which will also apply for umpires and key match-day staff.
“Strict protocols will be in place to protect players, officials, staff and the wider community,” McLachlan said.
“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.”
McLachlan thanked leaders and health officials for allowing matches to go ahead and stressed the need to remain “agile and flexible” to adapt to the changing COVID-19 crisis.
Four clubs from the states of Western Australia and South Australia, will be relocated east, with players to be housed at two luxury golf resorts in the State of Queensland.
On Wednesday, SA officials denied a request by the league to allow an exemption from the mandatory 14-day quarantine for players returning to the state, prompting the temporary relocation arrangement.
“Families can go to join the players. They will be under the same protocols and under a strict set of protocols that have been worked through with the Queensland government,” McLachlan said.