AFL boss rubber stamps interstate grand final venue

1 month ago 21
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The AFL grand final is headed to Perth unless the Victorian government can make some guarantees by early next week, Gillon McLachlan has confirmed.

The AFL chief executive confirmed at a media conference this afternoon that Perth had won the battle against Adelaide to take the grand final interstate due to the bigger crowd capacity of Optus Stadium.

McLachlan added that it was still the AFL's preference to stage the grand final at the MCG but said that was in the hands of the Victorian government, with the state's COVID-19 outbreak making that outcome increasingly unlikely.

The AFL boss said a call was yet to be made on whether the grand final would be staged in the traditional daytime slot, twilight or at night, but hinted it was likely to have a later start due to the time-zone challenge of playing the game in Western Australia.

"Our priority clearly will be the health and safety of the West Australian community. We'll work through the quarantine facilities and restrictions for our playing groups and it will be an amazing venue in the event the MCG is unavailable," McLachlan said.

Gillon McLachlan addresses the media. (Nine)

The benefits of Optus Stadium's bigger crowd capacity than that of Adelaide Oval are a more electric atmosphere and greater revenue, which is particularly important given the financial toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the game.

"They've both got their merits but the capacity available at Optus Stadium is 100 per cent and that's pretty compelling, to have as many people as we can see the biggest and best sporting event in the country," McLachlan said.

With both Victoria and NSW still being heavily impacted by lockdowns and the AFL committed to hosting the finals series in front of crowds, the first weekend of the finals will be played in Adelaide and Tasmania.

McLachlan told 3AW last week that the AFL was "unapologetic" in its stance that the grand final must be played in front of a crowd.

Perth's Optus Stadium. (Getty)

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