The AFL has ordered every player and official in the competition to get tested for COVID-19 by Friday in the hope of resuming training as early as Monday.
The mandatory coronavirus tests come as part of the AFL’s return-to-play plan, which is still being finalised. The AFL is expected to announce the competition will resume in June.
AFL South Coast clubs are not required to get tested for COVID-19, but Shellharbour City Suns President Steve Ashworth said he would welcome the tests at a local level.
“In any sport, you’re only one confirmed case away from the competition being cancelled,” Ashworth said.
“It’s a very infectious disease and if we had an outbreak locally or with any of our players or clubs we play against, it could spread like wildfire through the community.”
Along with ordering mandatory COVID-19 testing, the AFL told clubs they must reduce football department spending by 40 per cent as part of cost-cutting measures considered necessary for the competition’s survival.
Football department staff must include a doctor, a player development manager, and a psychologist, with a maximum of 24 staff allowed in total.
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the cuts to football department spending necessary for the future of the sport.
“We must take a prudent approach to football department expenditure which recognises that a significant level of industry revenue has already been lost and there is further material risk to our financial position both this season and in future years,” Dillon said.