THE AFL season will be reduced to 17 matches, with all teams playing each other once.
In an unprecedented move announced on Monday afternoon, League CEO Gillon McLachlan said five matches would be scrapped due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
A decision on whether round one begins this Thursday night as scheduled is expected in the next 24 hours.
However, McLachlan revealed that the League would come to a standstill at the "first instance" a player tested positive to COVID-19, which would result in a 14-day shutdown at a minimum.
As of Monday evening, Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury was awaiting the outcome of tests for COVID-19.
The AFL Players Association will hold two separate briefings with AFL and AFLW players starting from 7pm AEDT on Monday night to gauge the players' stance of playing in their respective competitions this weekend.
McLachlan confirmed he had held conversations with AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh over the prospect of players taking pay cuts due to playing less matches.
"We've got 40 weeks to get a 17-week season away. If it's done by the end of September, fabulous, but if we need more time, we'll do that. That's our commitment to our industry," McLachlan said.
"This unprecedented community challenge requires unprecedented community response."
McLachlan also said:
- The first four weeks of the season would remain as fixtured before the rest of the 13 weeks would be "recalibrated."
- Teams could play multiple matches in the space of a week
- The four-week finals series structure would continue as planned – with no date locked in.
- The fixture for the rest of the NAB AFL Women's competition remained unconfirmed.
- State league competitions would be put on hold until May 31 in an attempt to limit the outbreak due to their "part-time" nature.
- A decision on the ability for AFL clubs to add players from state league competitions to a supplementary list would be finalised next week.
- AFL Commission Chairman Richard Goyder will chair a cabinet of club presidents to assist and lead the industry. It will be finalised on Tuesday.
- The League has every intention to play the Grand Final at the MCG. The first scheduled cricket match of the summer falls on October 25 with a Twenty20 World Cup match between New Zealand and West Indies.
- The AFL executive was working closely with AFL clubs on their finances to ensure clubs were able to work a better way through this challenge.
- McLachlan confirmed that he too would take a pay cut.