AFL 2021: Key dates, when does the season start, quarter length, Eddie McGuire, Gillon McLachlan, changes to the game, crowds
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire believes the AFL should consider starting the 2021 season in mid-February in order to increase the chances of getting a season away in the face of any potential COVID-19 setbacks.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said in September the league was aiming to return to its regular start window of late March in 2021, by which time he was hopeful some fans would be able to attend.
With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in South Australia, McGuire said it was an indication the AFL should look to commence its 2021 season as soon as possible, which would then allow it to potentially complete even more games by year’s end.
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“It’s why I’ve been pushing we should be starting the footy season in mid-Feb. I just think if we get them away quickly at the MCG, Marvel Stadium, kids are back at school, everyone’s desperate to watch a game of footy again,” he said on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.
“Even then, you could have a break in the middle of the season, a three-week break for the Olympics, then if you’ve got the 17 games done you might come back and play another 10 games and get a 27, 28-game season.
“If the broadcasters are up for it then it could help mitigate the salary cap issues. Players tell me all the time they’d rather play more games and train less.
“Of course time is of the essence, if you’re going to do something like that it has got to happen now, the decision would have to be made in the next two-to-three weeks.”
McGuire is part of the AFL’s competition committee, which is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss a variety of issues.
The AFL is already considering at least two rule changes for 2021.