AFL return plan in doubt after bombshell


The AFL's proposed restart for June 11th has been jeopardised after South Australian health officials decided not to provide quarantine exemptions for Adelaide and Port Adelaide players.

South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Spurrier signed a letter addressed to AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan confirming players would need to quarantine for a 14-day period if they travelled from another state.

The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power will therefore not be able to fly in and out of the state when the season recommences due to the "unnecessary public health risk".

Port Adelaide Power players.
Port Adelaide Power players.

"On public health advice, the committee has resolved that any economic and social benefits to be gained by allowing modification or exemptions to SA quarantine requirements for AFL players and staff were not outweighed by the public health risk," the letter said.

"The Committee noted that as a highly visible part of society, it is also important that the AFL model the behaviours expected from the public in general.

"We acknowledge that for the AFL to recommence fixtures on its preferred timeframe this may require players and staff to travel to an alternate location for the medium term."

The Crows and Power squads will therefore need to start the season in a hub environment for the competition to resume.

Both sides have also been banned from contact training in South Australia until June 8th, three days before the proposed second round of the 2020 premiership. However, they can perform non-contact training in groups of ten until that date.

Earlier today, the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Docks revealed they were considering relocating to the Gold Coast before the season recommences.

The AFL hoped to have all 18 clubs training again by Monday, which now seems unlikely unless the four clubs immediately travel interstate.

AFL reporter Caroline Wilson claimed the two South Australian squads were "shocked" by the leaked letter after initially anticipating an exemption from health officials.

"Both Port Adelaide and the Crows are shocked by this news," Wilson told Footy Classified on Wednesday.

"As recently as about four hours ago, both clubs felt that the Chief Medical Officer would work back in lockstep with the Premier. They're in disagreement.

"This means hubs are back on the agenda, not only for the WA clubs. I'm not sure that the football world is looking all that kindly on the Adelaide Crows right at this moment."

Sixteen players were handed a suspended one-match sanction, while assistant coach Ben Hart was stood down from coaching duties for six weeks.


Originally published as AFL return plan in doubt after bombshell