AFL confirms new grand final venue in historic announcement

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured here, the 2019 AFL grand final winning Richmond squad.
The 2020 AFL grand final will be held outside of Victoria for the first time in its 123-year history. Pic: Getty

The 2020 AFL grand final will - as expected - be played at Brisbane's Gabba stadium.

CEO Gillon McLachlan made the historic announcement on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the showpiece event would be played outside of Victoria for the first time in its 123-year history.

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The premiership decider will be shifted from its usual afternoon time slot and be played at night, with at least 30,000 fans slated to attend the October 24 spectacle.

McLachlan says moving the grand final was the "biggest decision of all" in a season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The AFL Commission ruled on key criteria including safety, integrity of the competition, fan engagement, financial support for the game and long-term legacy.

"In another historic first, the grand final will be scheduled for the night of Saturday 24th of October, with the the exact start time to be confirmed," McLachlan told reporters on Wednesday.

Adelaide Oval was on standby to host the grand final, should a COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland impact the planed Gabba game.

The shift was forced by Victoria's COVID-19 breakout putting that state into lockdown, ruling out the grand final's traditional venue, the MCG.

The grand final has been played away from the MCG only once in the last 74 years, when Melbourne's Waverley Park hosted the 1991 game because of MCG construction works.

State governments of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales bid to host the match.

But Queensland was always in the box seat given the assistance the state has provided to the AFL to help keep the season afloat.

Queensland has hosted numerous clubs in hubs and the majority of home-and-away games have been played in the state.

Time and crowd figures for GF yet to be decided

The time slot will avoid a clash with horse racing's Cox Plate and appeal to broadcasters, who expect a massive television audience in prime time.

Premiership contenders West Coast (Optus Stadium) and Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) are expected to host any home finals at their regular home grounds in the lead-up to the grand final.

Premiership coaches Chris Scott and Damien Hardwick were among the prominent AFL figures who believed Queensland deserved hosting rights for the grand final.

Seen here, Richmond celebrate their 2019 AFL grand final win.
For the first time in its 123-year history the AFL grand final will not be played in Victoria. Pic: Getty

Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko, a Queensland product, was full of excitement over the idea.

"When I was a kid coming up at school, I would've been one of maybe four that played (Australian Rules) in the school and that even followed AFL," Zorko told SEN radio.

"Now the fact that the city of Brisbane will get the grand final, it's a real opportunity to grow the game significantly up here.

"Hopefully this is a platform for that to be achieved."

Victoria holds a long-term contract to host the grand final - through the state government and MCC, operator of the MCG - and will be compensated for losing this year's decider.

It is understood the existing contract, which runs through to 2057, will be extended by one more year.

with Yahoo Sport staff