'Paves the way': Premier puts AFL one step closer to returning

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is pictured in a 50/50 split image next to Richmond Tigers player Dustin Martin.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says sporting clubs will be allowed to train in groups of 10 from Wednesday, paving the way for AFL clubs to resume training. Pictures: Getty Images

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has opened the door for AFL players to train in groups of 10 from Wednesday as the competition eyes a possible restart next month.

The move brings Victoria into line with other states, with the AFL now able to lift the training limit in the state from two people if and when it chooses.

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The AFL has previously limited players from all clubs to training in pairs despite some state governments - such as South Australia and Western Australia - allowing for larger groups.

The league said that ruling was for the sake of competitive fairness, with the 10 Victorian clubs limited by their state government's restrictions.

But clubs are now hopeful the AFL-imposed training limit will be lifted to 10 within days.

Andrews on Monday announced changes to Victoria's coronavirus restrictions, which will officially be in place by 11.59pm on Tuesday.

It includes groups of up to 10 people being allowed to participate in outdoor activities, which Andrews said includes "kicking a footy".

"We have agreed to a set of arrangements to allow training for AFL, for rugby league, other professional sports, to resume from just before midnight tomorrow night," Andrews said.

"Of course, with that happening, once training is up and running again, that paves the way for the AFL and other codes to make announcements.

"So training resuming paves the way for footy to be back and I think we all want that provided it is safe, appropriate and can be done in a cautious way.

"I'm confident it can be. So, this is, these are small steps, significant steps, though."

The AFL Commission will meet on Monday to finalise its return-to-play plan, which will not be announced until Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

Clubs are hopeful a season resumption can occur as early as mid-June.