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Top AFL execs could be spared quarantine if SA wins finals bid

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The AFL’s top executives including its CEO Gillon McLachlan could be exempt from quarantining for 14 days if they grant South Australia the right to host this year’s grand final at Adelaide Oval, the state’s Police Commissioner says.

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Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens told reporters this morning authorities were “not at this point talking about a 14-day quarantine prior to the event” for “key personnel” at the AFL in the event South Australia wins the bid to host the first grand final away from Victoria in the league’s 160-year history.

It followed a question asking whether the AFL’s CEO Gillon McLachlan would be exempt from quarantine.

“We are looking at a process that will ensure the safety of the South Australian community that will enable key personnel, key people from the AFL and other relevant stakeholders to come in to South Australia, participate in the event, and leave South Australia in a safe way,” Stevens responded.

“We are not at this point talking about a 14-day quarantine prior to the event, but we will ensure that those people who need to come in for that purpose will be managed and the safety from the South Australian community from a COVID quarantine perspective will be maintained.

“That’s a principle position that we won’t falter from.”

However, some others involved in the event could be required to quarantine for 14 days, including those providing the television broadcast.

Premier Steven Marshall said there were some “technical” workers who would need to isolate after arrival to work on a prospective Grand Final, but “we’ll be providing an arrangement” for other VIPs.

“We’re still working through some of the other arrangements to do with VIPs, but that’s work SA Health is working through,” he said.

“If they say they can do it safely… that’s fantastic.”

Asked how people who had been unable to cross the border for events such as funerals would feel about such an arrangement, Marshall said, “We’ve got to respond to the risks associated with this disease at that point in time.”

“We’re very hopeful Victoria will continue to do well [but] four or five weeks ago we were extraordinarily careful about anybody coming in – and I think it’s tough on people that wanted to come in for very, very worthwhile cases and causes,” he said.

“Our primary responsibility is the health and welfare of all South Australians.”

He did not speculate on whether the hard border was expected to still be in place come AFL finals, saying: “Who can say – it’s such a hard one.”

Stevens said police had “undertaken to provide whatever logistical support is necessary” if South Australia was successful.

He said the Adelaide Oval’s Stadium Management Authority was also in talks with SA Health to determine how public health risks could be managed.

Premier Steven Marshall and Adelaide Football Club women’s captain Erin Phillips will pitch the state’s proposal to host finals matches to an AFL panel this afternoon.

Marshall said South Australia was “absolutely in it” to win the bid to host the finals due to its “excellent management” of the COVID-19 pandemic and its football history.

“I think the work that the Adelaide Oval has done in terms of managing large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic puts us in a good position,” he said.

“I think the fact that we are historically a football state also puts us in a good situation, but most importantly I think the people of South Australia would welcome having this event here in our state.”

He said this year’s grand final would be “one of the largest sporting events globally this year”, with a “conservative estimate” of nine million people watching in 100 countries.

“We know that it would bring money into our state, we know that there would be people that are coming from jurisdictions which are safe, that would be filling up our hotels, that would be spending money in our economy, especially in our CBD, which we know is doing it tough at the moment.”

But he said the Government would not jeopardise public health.

Accommodation is expected to be provided at the new Adelaide Oval hotel, which wraps around the stadium, to provide easy access to the ground.

The size of the crowd is also yet to be finalised but is likely to be higher than the 10,000 currently set for AFL games with up to 25,000 allowed for some matches earlier this year.

“But this is always subject to what’s happening in terms of the coronavirus,” Marshall said.

“So I’m not going to reveal the range that we’ll be presenting this afternoon, as I’m not in the habit of telling our competitors exactly what we’re going to be bidding for.

“But because we have managed the coronavirus well and we’ve got an excellent working relationship between the Adelaide Oval and SA Health, we’ve put ourselves in a really good position.”

– with AAP

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