AFL grand final locked in for Perth

2 weeks ago 13
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The 2021 AFL grand final will be held at Perth's Optus Stadium on September 25, after it was decided the MCG wouldn't be a viable option amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brownlow Medal function will also be held in Perth on September 19 to get the grand final week celebrations underway.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan also revealed the grand final would begin later than 2.30pm (AEST), with a start time still to be confirmed.

McLachlan said there was no way they would start it as early as 12.30pm Perth time, ensuring it will go ahead later than the traditional grand final time slot due to the time zone difference between Western Australia and the eastern states.

The AFL boss added there was still a consultation process underway with broadcasters and other stakeholders regarding the ideal start time.

McLachlan said that process would be completed quickly, with an announcement expected in the coming days.

"Throughout the past few weeks as the pandemic continues to challenge us, we looked at all the possibilities for holding the grand final at the MCG," McLachlan said.

Perth's Optus Stadium. (Getty)

"I want to thank (MCC chief executive) Stuart Fox and the MCC for their continued support of football and of us through the process.

"It has become clear, however, as we continue to navigate through these challenges that it wouldn't be in the best interests of the community to host a grand final at the MCG this year in front of a crowd.

"It has now meant that for season 2021 ... (the) AFL grand final will be played in Perth at Optus Stadium."

It will be the first time the grand final has been played in Western Australia and just the third time the MCG has not hosted the game's showpiece event.

Victoria's Waverley Park held the 1991 grand final between Hawthorn and West Coast, which the Hawks won by 53 points, and The Gabba in Brisbane saw Richmond beat Geelong by 31 points last season.

As a result of the grand final being stripped from the MCG for a second year in succession, the MCG's deal to host the landmark occasion has been extended to 2059.

The MCG will also host eight extra games between 2022 and 2026 on top of the previous agreement.

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

McLachlan acknowledged the resilience of Victorians, many of whom are devastated at the grand final again being taken away from the MCG.

"To all Victorians, we will be back at the MCG bigger and better in 2022," McLachlan said.

"You have stuck by our game all year, and I know how hard it has been, especially how challenging it has been for the community of football.

"It has been a tricky season, not only for the AFL, but for all your leagues.

"I want you to know that priority of the AFL to have you back up and running for next season as you have our support."

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