A grand back-up plan for this year’s AFL Grand Final has been revealed, ready if the Victorian Government decides the MCG can’t safely hold the event amidst the current COVID-19 outbreak.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan revealed on Wednesday that Perth’s Optus Stadium could be set to host the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final if restrictions prevent it for the second consecutive year.
The venue was chosen over Adelaide, based on the 100 per cent crowd capacity (60,000) available in WA, but nothing will be set in stone until the Victorian Government make their final call.
Currently, crowd numbers for the Adelaide Oval are capped at 20,000 following a last-minute increase that was approved last Friday for the weekend’s qualifying finals matches.
With the Grand Final scheduled for Saturday, September 25, the AFL is expecting the decision to be made early this week.
McLachlan said if the decision goes ahead, the AFL’s major priority will be the health and safety of the Western Australian community.
“We’ll work through the quarantine facilities and restrictions for our playing groups and it will be an amazing venue in the event the MCG is unavailable,” McLachlan said.
If the Grand Final does move to Perth, McLachlan said an afternoon or twilight time slot would be worth thinking about.
As both Victoria and NSW battle COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdown restrictions that don’t seem to be slowing down, the announcement is expected to be made any moment now.
Photo: Nathan Hurst