AFL boss Gill McLachlan said the league had set a target to finish the season by 31 October – a date that coincides with the annual contract cycle for the AFL and clubs – but nothing was locked in and the situation remained fluid.
“We think we have the flexibility with venues to go longer,” McLachlan told Fox Footy.
The league owns Marvel Stadium, allowing them flexibility in determining venues for matches outside the traditional football season.
The AFL is yet to even determine a fixture for the remaining 144 games in 2020 and there remains uncertainty about when the season might start but the decisions by national cabinet on Friday have given them cautious optimism they could return to play by June.
There are 20 weeks between June 20 and October 31 but the AFL is still working on the basis the time between each club’s match will be condensed thus enabling the season to be completed in a shorter time period than normal.
Other states are jockeying for position if the MCG was not available or if Victorian venues were not able to host crowds by the time finals arrived and other states could.
The Northern Territory government has already made a pitch to host AFL games in front of crowds while West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett told ABC Grandstand he thought the AFL would look at playing the grand final in Perth if crowds could watch football at Optus Stadium.
“I would never rule it, out. This has been such an unusual year,” Nisbett said.
“If we have a really clean bill of health for a long period of time well anything is possible.
“I wouldn’t see why the AFL wouldn’t look at it albeit they have got contractual arrangements and so forth in Melbourne I wouldn’t rule out anything yet.”
Perth Stadium is scheduled to host ICC T20 World Cup matches from October 24-October 30.
The AFL grand final has been played at the MCG every season since 1991.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.