AFL could delay 2021 fixture release

AFL could delay 2021 fixture release

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says the fixture might not be released until January or February

THE AFL could delay releasing its 2021 fixture until February as it navigates the challenges of a COVID-19 affected world.

But League boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed next season will revert back to 22 rounds, instead of the 17 in 2020. 

Reigning premiers Richmond will kick-off the home-and-away competition on March 18 with their traditional clash against Carlton. 

But past that locked-in blockbuster at a hopefully bustling MCG full of supporters, most things about the 2021 campaign remain unclear. 

"The later we can release the fixture, the more certainty we can give our clubs, our players and supporters," McLachlan told reporters on Friday.

"The conversation is primarily around our footy departments and our supporters, what do the clubs think is the latest we can release the fixture?" 

"Is it February, is it January, that's the question we've asked." 

"I think our supporters, hopefully, understand that we're discussing this to provide the greatest level of certainty." 

While a fixture announcement is a long way off, McLachlan said locking in quarters' lengths will come as soon as next week. 

Game time was slashed this year, but the AFL's experiment with 16-minute quarters is over. 

The League is weighing up whether to switch back to the traditional 20-minutes plus time-on, or meet in the middle at 18-minute quarters. 

The majority of clubs relocated for much of the 2020 season, but McLachlan is hopeful quarantine hubs won't be needed again.

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