The Western Bulldogs’ season opener against Collingwood next Friday night will go ahead as scheduled, without fans in attendance.
In the wake of the COVID-19 virus situation, the AFL made the decision to push ahead with the season, however advice from the federal government and medical authorities has seen the banning of spectators.
The AFL will monitor the situation and make any necessary adjustments to the season, as new information comes to hand.
A statement from the League’s head office said: “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.
Matches will continue to be broadcast on the Seven Network, Foxtel, the AFL App with thanks to Telstra, and though radio broadcast partners.
“The health and safety of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners and communities is the priority, so 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.” said AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan.
“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. 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.” he said.
"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."