AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says a decision on the location of this year’s grand final will be made next week, with the match almost certain to be played outside of Victoria for the first time.
Brisbane or Perth remains the most likely venue for the decider, given Melbourne remains in stage-four lockdown just six rounds out from the end of the regular season.
The COVID-19 situation in Victoria makes it virtually impossible to consider the option of playing the grand final in front of a significant crowd in October, despite the Victorian government having a contract to host the event until 2057.
“I think we’ve been pretty consistent, we’re aiming for the end of August (for a decision),” McLachlan told Neil Mitchell on 3AW.
“We continue to work with the Victorian government; wherever we land will be in concert with them.
“We’ve got a contract, but we’re having very fair conversations with the Victorian government and it’s increasingly looking challenging in Victoria.
“We’ll have a decision by the end of next week, whether it’s Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday I’m not sure.”
McLachlan also confirmed the likelihood of the Brownlow Medal being moved to the same city as the grand final.
“Not certain but likely. We haven’t made a decision but it’s probably likely they go hand in glove, but it’s not certain,” he said.
“We haven’t made a decision on that.
“The structure of the finals, and the grand final, will be the first decision, and then the Brownlow will follow.”
Queensland remains the favourite to host the grand final, given the state has done much of the heavy lifting to allow the competition to continue during the pandemic. The MCG has hosted every grand final since 1946, with the exception of 1991 when the ground was being redeveloped.
The grand final is scheduled for either October 17 or 24.