Shorter breaks, shorter games considered as AFL tries to get games played

Shorter games, flexible lists and revised fixtures are all on a list of several options being considered by the AFL as they look to navigate their way through the disruption to the season caused by measures being put in place to combat coronavirus.

Teams might have more players allowed on the bench and add players via special supplementary lists to enable shorter breaks between games in the early part of the season before the coronavirus outbreak reaches its peak and matches are potentially cancelled.

One club source said every option is being put on the table including cancelling participation in state leagues and rescheduling fixtures to reduce travel.

At this stage clubs are planning for such measures to be implemented after round two but with the situation changing so rapidly no-one is certain exactly what is going to happen in the short-to-medium term.

On Saturday the AFL told CEOs they planned to play and broadcast matches without crowds in round one while a working group dedicated to football matters attempts to communicate to clubs what the competition might look like as public health restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus has an impact.

Sources at clubs said they would need up to 60 people including players to conduct games behind closed doors with the AFL emphasising to all football operations staff they need to be extremely vigilant in protecting player and staff health.

Some players have even told family they may need to move out for a short period to maximise their chances of keeping themselves free of COVID-19.

Football managers have not yet discussed in detail what might happen if a player from a club is diagnosed with COVID-19 with views varying among clubs as to whether that would mean an instant shutdown of that club.

More to come

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