No AFL crowds just yet: McLachlan

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the league has not yet received authorisation to have crowds back in venues for the competition’s return this week, but it’s ready if that changes.

It comes despite reports the Queensland government had given the green light for the Gabba and Metricon Stadium to be at 25 per cent capacity for games as soon as this weekend.

GWS have also raised the prospect of hosting corporate supporters at their round-two match against North Melbourne at Giants Stadium on Sunday.

McLachlan told SEN on Tuesday morning his understanding is that, as things stand, no crowds are allowed to attend matches in Queensland or NSW this week.

“I think there will be announcements this week but as we sit here … my understanding is there’s not an authorisation in Queensland and there’s not an authorisation in NSW,” McLachlan said.

“That may change. There are discussions going on all the time and we’re ready if it changes.

“But right here, right now there is not an authorisation that I’m aware of.”

Earlier, Gold Coast chairman Tony Cochrane confirmed the club was pushing for a “test crowd” of up to 1000 people at Saturday’s clash with West Coast.

Cochrane said the Suns had submitted a detailed plan to the Queensland government and expected an answer on Tuesday.

The Queensland government is still considering the proposal.

There is also a push in South Australia for fans to attend the Power-Crows clash at Adelaide Oval, but the Showdown appears set to be played behind closed doors.

“I don’t think there will be (fans at the Showdown),” McLachlan said.

“It’s a big deal in itself to be getting away this weekend.

“I think in most states we’ll get supporters back (in time)… we’ll work through it in the right way.”

McLachlan said the league will cop further financial pain if it means passionate supporters are allowed back into games sooner.

Opening up grounds to a limited amount of people won’t be profitable but McLachlan is unfazed despite the COVID-19 pandemic already bringing about the biggest financial crisis in the league’s history.

“I think most of the crowds in the smaller numbers are going to be uneconomic,” McLachlan told Fox Footy.

“But our members and supporters have been unbelievable and are in the process of getting clubs through (this crisis).

“We’ll be investing back in our supporters as much as anything to be able for them to go to the football.”

Meanwhile, McLachlan is growing increasingly confident that Victorian games won’t be played behind closed doors for the entire season despite infection rates there remaining higher than in other states.

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