Dustin Martin of the Tigers celebrates with fans after the 2019 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the MCG on September 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Mark Stewart
Dustin Martin of the Tigers celebrates with fans after the 2019 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the MCG on September 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Mark Stewart

Victorian fans could be last to go to footy

Collingwood legend Tony Shaw has urged the Andrews Government to open stadium gates this weekend to Victorian football fans.

The call came as the South Australian Government approved more than 2000 fans to attend Saturday's "Showdown", with NSW set to follow suit with an announcement on Thursday for similar crowd numbers at weekend games.

Victorian footy fans currently face the prospect of being shut out of the next two rounds, with no easing of restrictions until at least June 22.

But now, even that date for fans to watch some live footy is in doubt, with the Andrews Government saying it needed enough time to assess the impact of the Melbourne Black Lives Matter protest on coronavirus numbers. 

 

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Shaw urged Premier Dan Andrews to use common sense, pointing out the double standard of 10,000 protesters marching last Saturday without being fined.

Collingwood great Tony Shaw wants Victorian fans to be able to attend AFL games in Round 2.
Collingwood great Tony Shaw wants Victorian fans to be able to attend AFL games in Round 2.

"Well, on the weekend we were just a laughing stock. The weekend showed we should be open all the way," Shaw told the Herald Sun.

"We had 10,000 people protesting on the weekend and they were basically holding hands standing next to each other.

"Footy is what the fans live for. People don't understand it when they sit behind glass watching games, they have lost that passion. These people live for their footy.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot of people outside venues supporting their teams, because how do you stop it? You might as well let them inside. Every bay could be cordoned off. You could have a family of four or six and then a gap in each bay."

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett declared on Twitter on Tuesday night that Hawks board members would not be attending any AFL games until the club's members were allowed to return.

Adelaide Oval will house 2000 fans in general admission on Saturday and 240 in private rooms, with Sydney hoping 350 fans could be housed in corporate areas for Sunday's Swans-Essendon clash.

From June 22, up to 50 people will be allowed inside pubs, cafes and restaurants as long as they adhere to social distancing rules.

If 50 fans were allowed in each of the MCG's 202 bays, it would allow a 10,100 crowd to watch the footy live. 

Richmond member Robert Winstone, 32 said he would be there in an instant if crowds are permitted at some point this season.

"I would jump at any opportunity to go watch my Tigers live," Mr Winstone said.

"To go see my beloved Tigers in a live scenario even if it's behind glass, I'll be there."

But premier Daniel Andrews said he remained cautious about opening footy up to fans in Melbourne.

"As soon as we can safely have crowds back at the footy, as soon as we can have crowds back for a multitude of different purposes, we will," he said.

"I think people will be focused on the fact that footy's back - that's absolutely fantastic news - (but) we're not going to be able to go to games for a period of time."

The MCG has detailed models for crowds returning to football and is hopeful that by late August or early September there could be tens of thousands of fans back at the home of football.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin sends a message to fans from an empty MCG before Round 1. Picture: Michael Klein.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin sends a message to fans from an empty MCG before Round 1. Picture: Michael Klein.

MCC officials are confident they could safely house significant numbers of fans safely with social distancing that could see the MCG housing 30,000 to 40,000 under current social distancing requirements.

But in the short term there are concerns about public transport and how fans would arrive at the ground given little or no parking at Yarra Park.

MCC chief executive Stuart Fox told the Herald Sun he was awaiting a state government decision after months of preparation for a return for fans.

"The staged approach of getting fans back to the MCG will be a collaboration with the AFL, Victorian Government and the MCC. Public health remains the top priority in making decisions here and we need to continue to respect the current guidelines. There are many aspects that need to be worked through to have fans at the 'G for games, such as how fans get to the ground as well as social distancing with facilities inside the venue."

Rugby league commission boss Peter V'landys has ambitious plans to have full crowds back at the NRL by early August.

V'landys will also make an "immediate" application to the Queensland government to clear the way for capped fans at Suncorp and Townsville stadiums from July

 

Originally published as Victorian fans could be last to go to footy

News Corp Australia


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