The AFL has asked the Western Australian Government whether a capacity crowd could be accommodated for a possible Grand Final on October 24, according to WA Premier Mark McGowan.
A decision on where this year’s Grand Final will be played is set to be made in the coming days, with the question of how many people would be able to attend the match being one of the league’s big concerns.
The Gabba in Brisbane is still thought to be the frontrunner to secure the hosting rights but with COVID-19 restrictions currently on track to be eased back in Western Australia on October 24 – the same day which the premiership decider is set to be played – Perth remains firmly in the running to host the biggest game of the season.
Premier McGowan says the issue of capacity was high on the agenda as the AFL prepares to move the Grand Final away from the MCG for the first time since 1991.
“That’s one of the queries they’ve put to us,” McGowan said on Monday when asked about hosting a capacity 60,000 crowd at Optus Stadium in late October.
“We’re getting health advice around that and we’ll get back to them with that health advice shortly. But clearly we’re not going to compromise our safety and security requirements.”
“If they want to go to the healthiest, safest place and they want to comply with the quarantine requirements, then Perth is the obvious solution.
“I just think with the Grand Final, the AFL should do what’s in the interest of football and safety. They shouldn’t be guided by other factors.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews conceded on Monday that it would be foolish to host crowds at a sporting event in Victoria in October when taking into account the current COVID-19 crisis.
"For the sake of one event as important, as religious almost as it is, that you would take a holiday from the coronavirus for the day so we could have the Grand Final for a day and a dose of normal, that doesn't make any sense,” Mr Andrews said.
“That would only spread the virus. It hurts, but not as much as potentially spreading the virus more.”
The AFL is currently weighing up whether to reward Queensland for their role in keeping the season alive by hosting the Grand Final at the Gabba or head west and host the marquee event in front of a minimum of 30,000 people at Optus Stadium or as many as a full 60,000 crowd if restrictions are eased by October 24.