Warnings were issued recently by the Victorian government that large gatherings of people will be impacted as measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are undertaken. Gillon McLachlan, Chief Executive Officer for the Australian Football League, went on to declare that teams would be prepared to play fixtures even if fans would not be able to support their favourite players in the flesh.
Bachar Houli, star of the Richmond Premiership, recently told reporters that players have not been given any further information regarding this move, although they were asked to consider the prospect. He said that it will no doubt test players’ communications skills and reveal who is vocal on-field. Normally, says Houli, they would rely on hand signals to deal with the noise of the crowd, and doing without these would be a big test.
Houli’s Tigers will be featuring against Carlton on the 19th of March in the match that traditionally opens the season. Previously 85 000+ fans have streamed in to watch the action unfold, but that may well not happen this year. The player said that his team’s games are famous for drawing huge crowds but that they’ll just have to trust that the AFL is making the right decision to forbid it from happening.
Wingman for the Western Bulldogs Lin Jong admitted that it would be a weird experience to play in front of empty stands but was quick to add that since safety always comes first if that’s what needs to be done then so be it.
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