The AFL has announced that, commencing on Saturday, March 14th, all AFLW matches will be off-limits to supporters.
There has been an increased sense of concern regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 or ‘coronavirus’ in Australia and it seems that this may begin to affect major sporting events around the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke today and delivered advice from the Australian Health Protection Principals Committee that mass gatherings of over 500 people for ‘non-essential’ purposes should be discouraged.
This includes sporting events.
The AFLW has already felt the first affects of the more general precautionary measures amid the outbreak, with the announcement yesterday that Richmond midfielder Lauren Tesoriero will be missing Round 6 while she waits out a period of isolation. While she is not showing symptoms, her housemate recently returned from a trip to Japan and Tesoriero has opted to err on the side of caution and self-quarantine.
At this stage, this is the extent to which the sport has been affected, but this may change considerably in the coming days. The government’s advice to cease mass gatherings should be officially commencing on Monday and it remains to be seen whether AFLW and AFL games will be played or postponed from then.
There is also the possibility that the games will go ahead, but that they may be played behind closed doors so as to avoid the gathering of crowds of fans.
In the meantime, clubs have also started restricting contact between fans and players in an attempt to avoid the risk of spreading the virus, while some have also introduced significant restrictions to club areas and press opportunities for non-essential purposes.
LATEST: The AFL have released a statement saying that matches will indeed be closed to supporters from Saturday, March 14.
An update on Round Six of NAB AFL Women’s. pic.twitter.com/ed6jvmXYzK— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 13, 2020