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Family quarantine a key issue in AFL season reboot plans

Football

Whether players are allowed to take families into quarantine hubs shapes as the most significant hurdle in negotiations as the AFL attempts to formulate a plan to restart the season.

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AFL Players’ Association boss Paul Marsh on Tuesday delivered the AFL’s reboot plan to the playing group, with the “worst-case scenario” involving players staying in hubs for up to 20 weeks.

That would be split into two blocks, beginning with an eight-week period consisting of a compact training schedule followed by five weeks of matches.

Speaking to SEN Breakfast on Wednesday morning, Marsh stressed that was only a starting point in negotiations.

“The players want to do everything that they reasonably can to play but the world has shifted significantly here,” he said.

“We’re all of the understanding right now that the hubs are the only way we’re realistically going to get the season started, given the border closures in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

“But there’s a bit to work through in terms of the detail around all of it and we’ve just got to keep working through it.

“There’s a lot at stake here but there’s also a lot of issues that the players fairly have.”

Marsh said players’ individual circumstances relating to families and loved ones were a priority for the AFLPA.

Many are hopeful they will be allowed to take their families into the hubs.

However, the expected cost in doing so is a stumbling block for the AFL, which is already facing its biggest financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The AFL’s position is that they have an issue with bringing families in, but from our perspective it’s a significant issue for the players with families,” Marsh said.

“The AFL is well aware that that’s an issue for us and we’ll just need to keep working through it.”

Marsh confirmed the AFL had proposed lists of 32 players per club to be accommodated within the hubs.

There would be provisions for players on the larger official club lists to move in and out of the hubs.

Marsh said he is hopeful state borders might reopen within weeks and prevent the need for quarantine hubs.

-AAP

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