AFL Saturday Showdown to allow 2,000 fans


Adelaide Oval return with fans Image:

Two thousand fans will be allowed to attend the Australian Football League (AFL) match between Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide this weekend. The State Government in South Australia has given the green light for the same.

The Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional men’s competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport’s governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game.

The Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed the Crows, is a professional Australian rules football team based in Adelaide, South Australia, that competes in the Australian Football League (AFL). Port Adelaide is the oldest professional sporting club in South Australia and the fifth-oldest club in the AFL.

The AFL website stated that South Australia’s Showdown will be played in front of more than 2,000 fans coming Saturday in a major boon for football’s return.

The South Australian Government confirmed the crowd allowance on Tuesday afternoon, which will see 2000 club members in the stands and an additional 240 corporate partners in private rooms.

The match will be played at the sports ground Adelaide Oval and will serve as a home fixture for Port Adelaide. The club’s Chief Executive Keith Thomas informed that 1,475 tickets would go to Power club members, with 475 tickets to be given to Crows fans and the remaining 50 tickets to be given to Adelaide Oval members.

To allot the tickets to Port Adelaide members, a ballot system will be adopted. Additional 240 people will be able to attend the match in private rooms.

Though sports resumed in Australia in the month of May, but fans have not been allowed so far to enter venues.

Thomas added, “The SA Government and SA Health have been magnificent in how they have managed the entire COVID-19 pandemic here in South Australia, including our transition out of shutdown. We have always maintained we’ll be guided by the Government and relevant health authorities on these matters, so we are fully supportive of the decision. As a club, we are delighted that 1,475 of our loyal members will be able to attend this game, along with some of our corporate clients who have stood by the club throughout these uncertain times.”

“Of course, we wish we could have all our members at the ground on Saturday night, but we know this season will be different and we will strive to provide equal opportunity to all our members on Saturday night and across the remainder of the season,” he further stated.

The AFL website further mentioned that the news comes as Greater Western Sydney expects to receive the same NSW Government approval for the National Rugby League (NRL) to host fans in corporate boxes.

NRL teams in that State can have one person per four square meters and up to 50 in total in those areas, meaning hundreds of supporters could watch at respective stadiums but abiding by social distancing restrictions, the AFL website further mentioned.

That ruling followed the NSW Government allowing a maximum of 50 people in restaurants, pubs and clubs.

Fans in other States will in all likelihood have to wait for at least another week – and Victoria even longer – to be able to enter stadiums.

Details around which club members or fans will be allowed into the venue are still being finalized but the decision makes South Australia the first State to allow spectators at AFL matches since the coronavirus shutdown.

It comes as the Queensland Government nixed a claim that it had already approved the Gabba and Metricon Stadium to be at 25 percent capacity for games as soon as this weekend.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan is hopeful of further announcements this week while Gold Coast Chairman Tony Cochrane confirmed the club was pushing for a “test crowd” of up to 1,000 people at Saturday’s clash with West Coast.

On Tuesday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the State’s Chief Health Officer was yet to give the go-ahead to any proposals and that spectators would not be allowed at AFL games in the State this week.

“It won’t be this weekend, but we have plans in currently with our Chief Health officer. We want to see crowds supporting their local football matches but also future netball games [and] sport across the board,” Palaszczuk stated.

“We have to be measured and responsible and that’s why the plans are currently with the Chief Health Officer and once she ticks off those plans she’ll get back to those organizations and we’ll be able to make some public announcements,” she affirmed.

McLachlan is growing increasingly confident that AFL games in Victoria won’t be played behind closed doors for the entire season notwithstanding the fact that COVID-19 infection rates there remaining higher than in other States.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said there would be no crowds at AFL matches in his State “for the foreseeable future” as it attempts to arrest the spread of the fatal respiratory disease.

“As soon as we can have crowds back at the footy, as soon as we can have crowds back for a multitude of purposes, we will. But we’ve got to be cautious about this,” the Premier maintained.

“People will be focused on the fact footy’s back, that’s absolutely fantastic news, we’re not going to be able to go to games for a period of time. Let’s be guided by the experts,” he advised.

Meanwhile, the NRL’s bid to bring fans back into the stadium fold at the earliest continues, but the league’s proposal to welcome back 15,000 fans by July 5 is still under discussion, as per media reports.

The NRL is leading from the front on the return of fans, and the Federal Government is considering “decreased capacity” for games, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth.

At this stage, only NSW venues have been given the green light to open up their corporate boxes with Queensland considering following suit.

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