AAP AFL

AFL can complete 17-game season: McLachlan

By AAP Newswire

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is confident the league can get a 17-round season away, even if its return date is pushed beyond June 1.

The season is suspended until at least May 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic and was reduced to 17 games and finals before the 2020 campaign kicked off.

McLachlan said there are no plans to cut the season length beyond that figure and flagged the possibility of squeezing extra games into weeks to ensure the abbreviated campaign were completed.

"What we're saying is 'what is the drop-dead date to get 17 rounds away?'" McLachlan told ABC Radio Melbourne on Thursday.

"And it's certainly later than June 1 - we can get our season away later than that.

"So it may get to the point that we need to look at different models beyond 17 but at the moment we have given ourselves that flexibility by 17 rounds.

"We've got a really united industry, a united group of players and clubs that know that it's plausible to get 17 rounds away (and) almost maybe in less than 17 weeks if we compress it a little bit - maybe we could pick up one or two weeks there over the course of 17 weeks.

"So we have time beyond June 1 to get 17 rounds away."

Meanwhile, McLachlan said AFL club members could ask for refunds if they needed but emphasised the importance of memberships to the 18 clubs' financial viability.

"Of course (members can get refunds). If they need it, they can," he said.

"But yes, we would love them to stay because our industry is in a battle and our clubs are in a battle to get through and the membership is their life blood.

"But all I'd say is I understand the pain going on out there and people need to make their own decisions... Though I know our members understand how big their contribution of membership is to their clubs."