'Why don't we know': AFL great's fury over 'secret' restart plans

David King says fans deserve to know more about what plans the AFL is putting on the table. Pic: Getty

Former AFL player David King has taken aim at the game's bosses, insisting they've let down fans over a lack of transparency about the coronavirus crisis.

The AFL is considering a raft of options and potential dates for restarting its season amid the global pandemic that's forced the competition to shut down.

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One of those scenarios involves putting teams in quarantined environments to play round-robin matches if government restrictions due to coronavirus are lifted and football is cleared to resume in certain states.

Citing AFL head of football Steve Hocking, the Herald Sun reports that up to 10 different scenarios are being explored around the resumption of the AFL season.

The AFL - unlike the NRL - has provided little to no detail about what many of these proposals entail and two-time premiership winner King says fans deserve better.

“I just can’t help when I read these sort of articles,” King said on SEN’s Whateley.

“Whether the fans are going to the games, whether the fans are subscribing to Foxtel, whether they’re watching on Channel 7 where they’re watching the sponsors of the game, ultimately it comes back to the fans.

“I read today that there’s at least 10 scenarios to get this season started with different markers along the way. Why don’t we know these markers? Why don’t we know what the scenarios are? Why are these scenarios being kept secret from the fans?

“Shouldn’t we know that if the season doesn’t get started on May 31st that these two of 12 are off the table. Our next marker is July 1. Our next marker after that is August 1. Use whatever markers you want or whatever information checkpoints you want.

“But shouldn’t we know as fans, who have asked been to do a lot so far. They’ve been asked to leave their membership money in the coffers at both the AFL and at their associated football clubs. They’ve been asked to leave their money there and stick fat and just support that the AFL will do the right thing.

“How about they give back some information to the fans? What are the scenarios and what are the checkpoints?”

One plan under AFL consideration is to have all 18 teams based in one quarantined location.

Another proposal, made public by Collingwood president McGuire on Triple M on Monday, would have six teams based in both Perth and Adelaide, and another three in both Hobart and Launceston.

The teams would stay in hotels and train at state league facilities, while playing matches in a round-robin format.

But McGuire's plan is entirely dependent on the states in question being given the green light to lift certain coronavirus restrictions before the likes of Victoria and New South Wales.

The AFL is in regular contact with the relevant government and health authorities as it monitors developments.

AFL seriously considering quarantine options

"That is something that is being seriously looked at and discussed and those three states in particular might just be able to get the season started a little earlier than we might otherwise," McGuire said on Triple M on Monday.

AFL Players' Association president and Geelong superstar Dangerfield has serious doubts about whether the plans made public in recent days could work.

"How realistic that is, I think speculative at best," Dangerfield told SEN on Tuesday.

"We've said we'll do what we can as players.

"I think you'd find you'd have players that would be more than willing to do that and you'll have some that would be vehemently opposed.

"I know these are desperate times but we've also got to be measured in our response to this."

Dangerfield said it was important the AFL set the right example for the rest of the community.

Geelong star has serious doubts over quarantine proposal

"I think round one was a good example of the angst that playing created and I just think to do something like that whilst everyone else is still in lockdown, there would need to be a huge amount of thought go into it," he said.

"I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with it.

"We so often hear people talk about sportsmen as role models, well, this is something that's affecting absolutely everyone within the country, so our role to that is to do as we're told and to abide by the government guidelines.

"It's more and bigger than just sport, so let's get through it first and make logical decisions post."

Dangerfield said no formal plan around returning to action had been put to the Players' Association as of Tuesday morning.

"At some stage we all want to be back playing but it's got to be the right time," he said.

"I would assume that we would be consulted as a PA and really go through the intricacies of restarting the season.

"But my own personal view at the moment is we are a long way away from that.

"We've got to flatten the curve and really reduce it as best we possibly can.

"Then, and only then, once it becomes safe we think about restarting the season."

Dangerfield said many players would find it "extremely difficult" to be isolated away from their families for extended periods to play football.

However, he also noted players felt a responsibility to clubs that are under huge financial pressure and staff who have been stood down as a result of cutbacks.

with AAP