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The AFL is already exploring options to reboot the season, but still aiming for only 17 rounds. Once given the clearance by the Australian states to resume, the league is considering relocation to one or two central areas (similar to what the NBA, MLB, and NHL are considering). They are also considering doubleheaders and the possibility of shortened games in a round-robin format to complete in 144 games in the least number of weeks possible. Even suburban grounds are being considered. When games do resume, they will be unattended by fans for the foreseeable future. The league appears to be focused on maximizing television revenue.

AFL Operations Manager Steven Hocking admitted it was not a certainty but a contemplation the league was working with. He went on to say even if there were less games, they still needed to get in enough games to maintain the integrity of the season. To this end, he did not say how many rounds the league would consider to be the minimum nor did he give a cutoff date for when the league would consider the season to be reduced further or require cancellation of the entire season.

(Ed. note: Here are contrary opinions to leagues returning early: Washington Post and this The Score. There is also this commentary on how long it might be before we see live sports again.)

The AFL has to consider the size and format of any post season finals. Others have raised the idea of cutting the finals to just a top four if time was limited; while some commentators have suggested expanding the finals to a top ten or twelve if play resumes earlier. However, this was a point (apparently) not high on the agenda. The AFL is also looking at some form of the under 18 championships with everything else suspended. During a media conference, Hocking said, "It is just part of how you set up a fixture ... how do you execute and deliver the fixture?"

A decision is expected to be made at the end of April as to whether or not games can resume in June. If given the go ahead, clubs will be allowed a three week preseason with intraclub matches allowed, but no practice matches. Hocking elaborated, "... the later it goes then you would pull the preseason out to four weeks but four weeks is the absolute maximum that we have agreed to ... ".


Article last changed on Wednesday, April 08, 2020 - 12:50 PM EDT

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