The MCG will welcome the largest crowd capacity at a sporting event in Victoria since the coronavirus pandemic first hit last year when reigning premiers Richmond host Carlton for AFL’s season opener.
- Richmond face Carlton for the season opener on Thursday March 18
- Docklands Stadium can host up to 28,961 fans
- Crowd attendance at Kardinia Park and Ballarat Stadium is being worked through
A total of 50,000 fans will fill the stands following the Victorian government’s decision to allow a 50 per cent crowd capacity at both the MCG and Docklands Stadium.
Three Community Series pre-season games will also allow fans to attend games from March 4.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the announcement had provided a positive start to the season.
The majority of last season, including the grand final, was held outside Victoria, and McLachlan said it was about time fans had the chance to watch football again in Victoria.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the Victorian state government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Minister for Health Martin Foley for working with us in allowing fans to get back to the footy,” McLachlan said.
“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season.
“We haven’t had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support Bushfire Relief in February last year, so today’s announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans in the lead up to the season.
“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”
The AFL is still working to establish attendance numbers at Kardinia Park and Ballarat Stadium.
The Premier said fans being allowed in stadiums was an important step towards normality.
“This is great news as the AFL season is obviously starting quite soon and it will be something approaching normal, which is something Victorians have absolutely earned,” Andrews said.