The 2021 AFL Grand Final will be held at Optus Stadium if Melbourne’s COVID situation does not improve, the league’s boss has confirmed.
The 2021 AFL Grand Final will be held at Optus Stadium if Melbourne’s COVID-19 situation does not improve, the league’s boss has confirmed.
Gillon McLachlan told reporters at a press conference this afternoon that Perth's Optus Stadium would be the backup venue for this year’s grand final in the event it was not possible to hold it at the MCG.
It would be a first for Western Australia and the second time the league has had to move the match due to COVID-19 restrictions, with last year's grand final between Richmond and Geelong held in Brisbane.
A relocation to Perth would need approval from the Victorian goverment, whose current contract with the AFL requires that all grand finals be played at the MCG until 2058.
Premier Dan Andrews recently tightened Victoria's restrictions, with the current state-wide lockdown scheduled to end at midnight on September 2.
The grand final is expected to be held on September 25.
Mr McLachlan said the Victorian government should be in a position next week to assess whether it can host the match.
“If we’re unable to play at the MCG, the grand final will be at Optus Stadium,” he reiterated.
“Our priority clearly will be the health and safety of the WA community; we will work through the quarantine facilities and restrictions for our playing groups.
“It [Optus Stadium] will be an amazing venue in the event the MCG is unavailable.”
Mr McLachlan said he'd been in conversations with WA Premier Mark McGowan about the backup plan.
“With no restrictions in place, hospitality venues across Perth and regional WA will be able to draw capacity crowds, while hotels in Perth’s CBD are primed to benefit from intrastate and interstate visitors," he said.
“This would be a massive boon for WA’s hotel and hospitality industry and one that is well deserved after a challenging 18 months.”
This week's qualifying finals will be held at Adelaide Oval and the University of Tasmania Stadium, in light of restrictions.
Port Adelaide is the only team able to host a home final this week, against Geelong on Friday.