Statement to be attributed to AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh.
This is an extremely difficult time for our game and our players, but we are committed to continue working closely with the AFL and the rest of the industry as we navigate our way through this unprecedented situation.
AFL and AFLW players want to play.
They know how much people love and need football. The players feel a deep sense of responsibility to deliver.
They feel a deep sense of responsibility to the game, the industry and the fans. They also feel a strong moral obligation to play their part in limiting the spread of this virus in the broader community.
However, players do have concerns, and as the ones putting themselves and their families at risk, we have been working through these concerns with the AFL. The AFL has ensured us that all steps will be taken to provide a safe working environment for the players, that doesn’t put them in a position of contributing to the spread of the virus to their families and the community more broadly. We have spoken to the Chief Medical Officer of Victoria and he was in the meetings with players last night to provide an update to them, and answer their questions.
As a collective, and as we stand here today, both playing groups are prepared to play as soon as they are given the green light by the AFL, as they work in conjunction with the government.
Given the rapidly changing situation, it is imperative that the AFL, clubs, AFLPA and government continue to share all available information to ensure that players, their families and the broader community won’t be placed at an unreasonable risk as a result of games being played.
It was clear from our meetings yesterday that the overwhelming majority of AFL players want to get the competition started. Our AFLW players are also committed to continuing to play.
We understand the AFL’s position on 17 games for the 2020 AFL season. However, given the AFL has announced the 2020 season now has a 40-week window, players urge the AFL to be open to the possibility of a 22-round Home and Away season should it be feasible.
Players are committed to working together with the industry to deliver the strongest outcome we can for the game we all love.