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Hawthorn president slams "unacceptable and unjustifiable" decision to ban crowds from Victorian games


Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has slammed the Victorian Government’s reluctance to allow crowds back at AFL games in Round 14.

The AFL were forced to move two matches to Tasmania next weekend following talks with government officials on Monday, while Geelong’s home game against Western Bulldogs in Victoria will remain but will take place at GMHBA Stadium behind closed doors.

Hawthorn’s home game against Hawthorn, which was originally slated for the MCG, will be played at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on Sunday, while North Melbourne’s previously scheduled home match at Marvel Stadium against Brisbane will now take place at Blundstone Arena in Hobart on Saturday.

Kennett couldn’t hide his anger, calling the decision to ban fans for another week “unacceptable and unjustifiable”.

“It’s not the AFL’s fault and it’s more a decision by government,” he said on Sportsday.

“Am I surprised (that games were moved away from Victoria)? I shouldn’t be because this government continues to spring things upon its population that I think are totally unacceptable and unjustifiable.

“On the other hand, for our 10,000 members in Tasmania and the supporters of Essendon, it is wonderful news and we thank the Tasmania Government for respecting Victorians unlike our government here.

“It is a ridiculous decision, when you think 100,000 people run around the tan every weekend and you can go to supermarkets, but you can’t go to the MCG which is still an open-air stadium.

“It’s quite obvious that the government has given up governing.”

Victoria came out of its fourth COVID lockdown last Friday, but several restrictions remain across the state.

Two local-acquired cases were recorded on Monday – both primary close contacts who were already isolating while infectious.

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