Both the fans and the players want the crowds back.
Both the fans and the players want the crowds back.

Hope for AFL crowds as PM relaxes stadium rules

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has flagged relaxing of restrictions could allow AFL fans back in smaller stadiums in July, but warned it's up to state premiers to enforce the measures.

Small sports stadiums with capacities of 40,000 seats or less will be allowed to reopen to crowds in July.

The venues will be allowed to sell 10,000 ticketed seats per event, with social distancing measures in place around bars and food outlets.

"As part of step three, for events in stadia or other venues of that nature with a capacity of 40,000 or less to enable attendance at those events, which are ticketed and are seated, and all the social distancing rules apply, for up to 25 per cent of the capacity of those venues to take patrons," Mr Morrison said.

"Now, there will be further work done over the next fortnight. This is not something that's happening straight away.

"States and territories will make decisions about when they're moving to that step 3."

It's uncertain what this development means for the AFL season, as most games in Victoria are scheduled to be played at stadiums with a capacity of more than 40,000 people.

Mr Morrison said larger stadiums, including all of the major AFL grounds, were an entirely separate issue.

He said bigger grounds presented unique challenges around access points and public transport crushes, which required much more significant work. The chief medical officer will consider reopening larger stadiums on a case-by-case basis.

"For the larger ones I would venture that it would be the subject of a discrete approval for each venue that would be worked out with the Chief Health Officer in each state or territory," the PM said.

"So by the time you get into July there may be that type of opportunity for the rules that apply to those under 40,000 (capacity) to carry over to those above 40,000, that is not a decision that has been taken yet."

Mr Morrison said that today's announcement would give sporting leagues time to prepare.

"The purpose of me flagging this today is so sporting codes, venues, state and territory governments, can engage in that appropriate discussion, know broadly what the parameters are which the National Cabinet has set so it means that people will be able to watch the games, not as cardboard cutouts, but in person, should they be fortunate enough to get one of those seats," he said.

- with AAP

News Corp Australia

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