“The Toyota AFL Grand Final is the highpoint of the Australian sporting calendar. A magical day for the competing clubs, footy fans and our industry as a whole,” McLachlan said.
“While we will continue to explore the possibility of a later start time in the future, it was recommended and ratified today that the traditional 2:30pm start time will remain for the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final.”
The question of a twilight – or eventually night – grand final has divided opinion within the game, with some proponents – particularly Collingwood president Eddie McGuire – arguing that the AFL would draw a higher audience by scheduling its climax in the evening, as most major sports do.
But McLachlan has maintained that the AFL was highly mindful of the public position and even said at a recent briefing that the decision on the 2019 grand final would not be based on money.
The AFL Commission decision came on a day when a meeting between club presidents and the AFL hierarchy was dominated by a discussion of mental health and illicit drugs.
The AFL, addressing the concern of some presidents about players using mental health as an excuse for drug use under the illicit drugs code, assured the presidents that while there was an overlap between mental health and drug use, far fewer players were exploiting the system as suggested.
About 40 minutes of the meeting between the presidents and the AFL Commission was taken up with a discussion of mental health and drugs, the AFL having identified mental health as perhaps the number one issue.