AFL boss 'unapologetic' in grand final stance

1 month ago 13
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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says he's "unapologetic" in his stance that the grand final will only play out in front of a crowd.

McLachlan's comment is a striking indication that the game's showpiece event is highly unlikely to be held at the MCG, given Melbourne's escalating COVID-19 numbers.

"The grand final will only go ahead with a crowd, correct?" said 3AW's Neil Mitchell.

"Correct," McLachlan said.

Mitchell: "So that means we've got to go interstate."

McLachlan then drilled home the importance of playing the grand final in front of a crowd.

"I'm ... unapologetic about that," McLachlan said.

"This is the pinnacle. There are 800 players and staff and 15 million supporters (who) have been leaning in all year – and it needs to come to a head and give it justice to the biggest sporting event in the country. That needs to be with supporters because they make the game."

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (Getty)

In what would be crushing for the soul of the game, there is a great possibility that not a single finals match will be played in Victoria.

"It would be a very sad set-up – there is no doubt about that," McLachlan said.

"But we are faced with the circumstances and the cards we've got. And the priority is the health and wellbeing of our community. Our game can't come ahead of that.

"The health (department) and the state government need to make the decisions they need to make and ... we'll work around that as we have for 18 months."

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and coach Damien Hardwick lift the 2020 AFL premiership cup. (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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