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States to host quarantine hubs when AFL season restarts

Football

Every state remains a contender to host quarantine hubs when the AFL restarts, league boss Gillon McLachlan says.

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Hubs are almost certain to be a requirement if the AFL season resumes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a return date to be confirmed as soon as next week.

“The guys are, or will be, talking to every state and there’s a set of criteria that’s being looked at,” McLachlan told Triple M on Thursday.

“The first port of call is obviously the states that are keen for us to set up there and we start working through the logistics after that.

“There’s a wide range of options – I doubt we’ll be playing in every state and territory – but we’re looking at every possibility.”

Swans chief executive Tom Harley on Thursday urged the AFL to consider NSW for a hub, arguing Sydney would be an ideal location.

Adelaide chairman Rob Chapman has pushed South Australia’s case, while Western Australian premier Mark McGowan said he was keen for teams to be based in WA to boost community morale.

Victoria has also been raised as a possible base for all 18 teams.

Harley said the Swans had been involved in discussions with crosstown rivals Greater Western Sydney about the potential for a hub in the NSW capital.

“(Sydney) would love to be part of the conversation (about hubs),” Harley told SEN.

“Sydney being a major city obviously has infrastructure that could support hub concepts.

“With the SCG and Sydney Olympic Park, two great venues up here, they should be considered.”

Harley said he expected all clubs to be bunkered down in the one location, even if players and staff lived nearby the hubs.

“It’s as much about promoting the game in New South Wales and providing those opportunities for the development of the game rather than winning an inherent advantage by playing the game in Sydney,” Harley said.

“If there’s a genuine hub environment, once you’re in, you’re in.”

Players, including AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield, have recently warmed to the concept of hubs after initially opposing the idea, recognising it may be the only way to resume playing.

McLachlan says a plan for the AFL to finish its season, which was suspended in March after just one round, is being prepared to submit for federal and state government health approval.

“We’re aiming to bring that to a head in the coming weeks,” he said.

“It might be first week of May but we’re aiming in coming weeks to get that out and get a plan on the table endorsed.”

-AAP

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