The AFL has today announced The Gabba will host the 2020 AFL Grand Final due to the current level of restrictions on mass gatherings in Victoria due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The Grand Final, which is scheduled for Saturday October 24, will see a BYE weekend between Round 18 and the first week of the AFL Finals Series, with the full schedule to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The relocation of the 2020 event will be the first year since 1991 that the MCG does not host the AFL Grand Final, and the first time it has been played outside of Victoria.
Melbourne Cricket Club Chief Executive, Stuart Fox, said the Club is supportive of the decision to move the Grand Final for the 2020 season.
“While we’re disappointed that the beloved Grand Final and one of Melbourne’s showpieces won’t be held here in 2020, we know this is an important decision to support the health of all Victorians and also the game of AFL,” Mr Fox said.
“We wish The Gabba all the very best in hosting the 2020 AFL Grand Final, we know they’re up to the task and will deliver a memorable and historic day. And if they need anything – we’re at the end of the phone ready to help,” he said.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan thanked the Victorian Government for their support of their decision to relocate the Grand Final for 2020.
“I want to thank Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Sports Minister Martin Pakula for working with us to ensure the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final can be played in front of a crowd,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The COVID pandemic has meant we have had to take the game outside of Melbourne. For this year only before it returns home to the MCG in 2021.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said the decision is in the best interest of footy fans and Victorians.
“We’ve acted in the interests of Victorians and all footy fans – this is a one-off deal in a one-off year that means the Grand Final can be played in front of supporters, as it should be,” Mr Pakula said.
“The pandemic is a life and death battle and we cannot risk our hard-fought gains for the sake of rushing back to crowds before it is safe.”
Following the announcement, the MCG has been guaranteed the AFL Grand Final until at least 2058 – a one year extension on the previous contract. Additionally, the MCG will host an extra two games in the 2022 and 2023 AFL Premiership Seasons, bringing the number of games at the ground each year to 45.
“In a gesture of goodwill for the partnership with the Victorian Government and the AFL, we are pleased to have our agreement extended by a further year which will see the MCG host the AFL Grand Final until at least 2058 and additional matches at the ‘G in 2022 and 2023,” Mr Fox said.
The MCG has hosted 115 VFL/AFL Grand Finals over 1902-1941, 1946-1990 and 1992-2019 including Grand Final replays in 1948, 1977 and 2010.
Waverley Park hosted its first and only AFL Grand Final in 1991 due to the construction of the MCG’s Great Southern Stand. In that match, Hawthorn defeated the West Coast Eagles by 53 points in front of 75,230 crowd.