The AFL is reportedly set to scrap the traditional grand final parade for a second-consecutive year, with fears of a "terrorist attack" cited as one of the reasons.
With the grand final set to be held in Perth this year, the city had hoped to host a parade through its CBD as part of its build-up before holding the decider at Optus Stadium for the first time.
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But according to The West Australian, the AFL has instead opted for a free ticketed event, where the two teams will be presented inside an enclosed or fenced space.
"We're disappointed, but we understand it's the AFL's call to make," Perth Lord Mayor Zempilas told The West Australian.
"We were confident a grand final parade could be delivered safely through the city streets and give the maximum number of West Australians the chance to be part of the grand final experience.
"But we appreciate in this environment the AFL have chosen a more conservative path and we respect their right to do that.
"We will work with the AFL to help deliver an alternate event where the grand final players and premiership cup can still be presented on stage to a ticketed or fenced-off crowd."
The #AFL Grand Final Parade is such an amazing experience.
Can’t believe they’re opting for an arena event in Perth instead.
It would just be an incredible build up for all the footy fans in WA.
— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) September 6, 2021
AFL reportedly concerned about 'terrorist attack'
While the exact reasons for the decision haven't been made clear, a number of outlets are reporting that there are concerns about a possible "terror attack".
According to 7News: “While WA Police have no real concerns about the security of a grand final parade, the AFL’s own security consultants do, fearing the possibility of a terrorist attack."
7News also reports that the AFL may be on edge following the recent knife attack in an Auckland supermarket.
“The AFL has been very consistent, they’ve said that in this environment they weren’t prepared to take risks,” Zempilas said.
“They wanted to get to game days as safely as possible.”
The WA government said in a statement: “While it supports a full open parade if it can be done safely, ultimately any decision of the grand final parade is a matter for the AFL.”
The ticketed event would likely be held at one of RAC Arena, Langley Park or Supreme Court Gardens on either the Thursday or Friday before the grand final.
It would allow for a list of registered attendees to be taken, whereas a CBD parade would not.
“Let’s get the premiership cup and the players in front of as many people as we can,” Zempilas said.
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