The AFL and South Australia’s government are negotiating an exemption for the Power and the Adelaide Crows to avoid self-isolation periods when they return from playing interstate.
Currently both clubs, on return to their state, would have to spend 14 days in self-isolation.
The SA protocols extend to any visitors to the state, meaning AFL games in Adelaide featuring non-SA clubs are unlikely.
But the AFL and SA government are working towards an exemption that would allow both teams to avoid that quarantine period.
“The AFL are working really hard with the South Australian government in order to make sure that we can,” Port’s football manager Chris Davies told SEN radio on Wednesday.
“I’m still really confident that that will be case when the season starts.”
An exemption would mean both SA clubs wouldn’t have to based outside of the state, most likely in Melbourne, should the AFL return to competition.
But SA’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said more information was required before granting an exemption.
“It is a very complex matter and we’re at a very, very critical point in our fight against COVID-19,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“What we will need from the AFL is details about when they are intending to start their matches, what their fixtures look like and the like.
“We were sent some updated protocols last night and my intention today is to look at those.”
It comes as the AFL ordered all players and staff to undergo COVID-19 tests before a planned return to training, as soon as Monday.
The league’s entire playing group will get a better understanding of what to expect when the competition does restart after they meet with AFL Players Association boss Paul Marsh on Wednesday.
It’s understood players will be told of strict protocols around social gatherings despite coronavirus restrictions beginning to ease around Australia.
“If that’s what we’ve got to do, then that’s what we’ll do,” Geelong superstar Dangerfield, the AFLPA’s president, told SEN.
“We’ve got a responsibility and we understand where the game’s at, and we want to get back to playing.
“If that means a certain level of extra caution of how players live their lives then we’re prepared for that.”
The 2016 Brownlow medallist said players were just relieved the worst-case scenario of long-term stays in quarantine hubs has been avoided.
“This is clearly, clearly better than that,” Dangerfield said.
“We’ll do our very best to make sure we’re prepared and ready to play; if that means it’s an imposition in terms of your daily living, that’s what it’s got to be.
“We realise how many people and jobs rely upon us resuming.”
An AFL announcement on returning to train and play dates will come this week, potentially as early as Wednesday.
Meanwhile, clubs will have to quickly finalise their revamped football departments.
The clubs have been told to reduce football department spending by 40 per cent, while staff numbers will be capped at 24 and must include a doctor, player development manager and psychologist.
Clubs stood down the majority of their staff when football was suspended and the reduced numbers mean some of those will not return when full training resumes – and potentially beyond.
Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew said the Suns would have to cut down from “upwards of 40” staff members – many of whom usually juggle AFL commitments with AFLW and academy duties.
“From 4pm today roughly through to tomorrow we’ll be speaking to all our staff and what that looks like,” Dew told Fox Footy Live on Tuesday.
“There’s some hard decisions to make and you wear that with heavy hearts at different times.”
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