The AFL is investigating changes that will see the competition enter unprecedented territory due to the coronavirus.
The AFL is investigating changes that will see the competition enter unprecedented territory due to the coronavirus.

The AFL's extraordinary plan for COVID-19 crisis

The AFL is actively investigating pushing its season into mid-October with the league set to ban all fans from its Round 1 fixture.

The league has fallen into line with government regulations that is expected to force the AFL to play the Carlton-Richmond game behind closed doors.

Carlton and Richmond would have split a massive $1.2 million windfall from gate receipts from Thursday's MCG season opener under their gate-sharing agreement.

Instead the league is set to announce fans will not be allowed at Round 1 fixtures as the league's advice continues to be updated.

Leading sports doctor Peter Brukner yesterday told the Herald Sun football was certain to be shut down at some point in coming weeks.

"It is inevitable someone will test positive at an AFL club within weeks. What happens then? You have to cancel or postpone the league. If I had to make a prediction it will be Round 1 at empty stadiums and that will be it. By Round 2 we will be shut down."

The Herald Sun can reveal the league has already been in contact with the MCC about whether it could still conduct AFL finals in October.

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The Twenty 20 World Cup starts on October 18 - 21 days after the scheduled September 26 Grand Final - with the first MCG game on October 25.

There is a 21-day exclusion zone before the first MCG game that would prevent the league from playing AFL games in October.

But a deal could be brokered that would allow the AFL to finish its finals series in mid-October before a quick turnaround which saw the MCC installing drop-in pitches before the World Cup match.The MCC is able to operate its ground on a skeleton staff of as few as 200 staffers - just 10 per cent of the nearly 2000 match-day attendees at a sold-out clash.

Brukner said AFL club doctors at his practice had stopped seeing external patients to ensure they did not pass coronavirus to AFL players.

He said there was no point in clubs testing their entire list every day because the virus was moving so fast.

"Someone generally takes about five days to become positive. I could test you today and you are OK. Then on Monday you could have spent the weekend with people and got to a BBQ with them. You would literally have to test every day.

"One NBA player got coronavirus and the whole league was suspended.

"One premier league manager got coronavirus and the whole league was suspended. I can almost guarantee someone in the next few weeks at an AFL or NRL club is going to test positive."



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