Sport Crowds to return to Melbourne stadiums in time for AFL games, A-League grand final

Crowds to return to Melbourne stadiums in time for AFL games, A-League grand final

Crowds will return to the footy in Melbourne this weekend. Photo: AAP
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Big sporting crowds are set to reutrn to Melbourne after the Victorian government eased further coronavirus restrictions.

The Victorian government has confirmed crowds of up to 50 per cent capacity, or a maximum of 25,000 people, will be allowed to attend games at Melbourne venues this weekend.

That means the A-League grand final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC on will go ahead at AAMI Park on Sunday, with 14,700 fans allowed to attend.

“This announcement means that Melbourne City are deservedly able to play a grand final at home in front of a raucous crowd and we hope as many Sydney FC fans as possible will be there, given evolving COVID-19 restrictions across Victoria and NSW, to make it an enthralling occasion,” A-League commissioner Greg O’Rourke said.

“The game is taking place on Sunday to make sure fans can plan their trip with the most time possible given this very late confirmation.”

Melbourne City will get to host the A-League grand final on Sunday. Photo:ABC/Brendan Esposito

There are a number of AFL games to be held in Melbourne across the weekend, starting with Richmond and St Kilda at the MCG on Friday night.

Collingwood then plays Fremantle at Docklands on Saturday afternoon, Essendon and Melbourne play at the MCG on Saturday night, and Carlton hosts Adelaide at Docklands on Sunday afternoon.

The GWS Giants will also play a home game against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, a change forced by the developing COVID situation in NSW.

The AFL had lobbied the state government for a 50 per cent capacity at the MCG and Marvel Stadium, but crowds will be capped at 25,000 fans this weekend before a planned boost to 85 per cent capacity next week.

“From 11:59pm tomorrow night, outdoor stadiums can have 50 per cent of the venue capacity up to 25,000 people,” acting Premier James Merlino said.

“This means that the A-League grand final can proceed with 15,000 people and the MCG can host 25,000 people.

“From the following week, commencing 11:59pm on 1 July and subject to public health advice, indoor and outdoor stadiums will be able to increase to 85 per cent capacity — so that includes the MCG, Marvel Stadium and AAMI Park.”

-with agencies