Sport AFL GWS Giants want to bring corporate sponsors back to games, but ordinary fans will have to wait

GWS Giants want to bring corporate sponsors back to games, but ordinary fans will have to wait

A small number of corporate supporters could attend the Giants' game against North. Photo: AAP
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Greater Western Sydney expects to learn as soon as Friday whether it will become the first Australian sporting club to welcome supporters back to matches.

The Giants are hopeful up to 350 corporate partners could be let into their round-two meeting with North Melbourne on June 14, despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

But the plan hinges on whether a fresh New South Wales government ruling that allows up to 50 people in restaurants also applies to corporate hospitality facilities at Giants Stadium.

The Royal Agricultural Society, which operates the venue, is awaiting government approval.

“We’re really intent on trying to get it happening and we should know in the next 48 hours,” GWS chief executive Dave Matthews told Fox Footy on Wednesday night.

If the plan is approved, Matthews said corporate supporters and sponsors would fill the available spots inside the stadium, rather than everyday members or fans.

“They’re regular, passionate supporters who have a capacity to really invest significantly in the club,” Matthews said.

GWS are also hopeful masses of fans will be allowed to return to AFL venues later in the season.

Regular Giants fans and members, seen here at the MCG in last year’s prelim, won’t be the first back through the gates. Photo: AAP

That possibility has prompted a request to the AFL from the Giants and cross-town rivals Sydney, who are seeking to play their ‘Battle of the Bridge’ towards the end of the revamped home-and-away season.

“If that opportunity presents itself we’d like to see the derby played later in the year,” Matthews said.

The AFL is unveiling its fixture in four-week blocks this season to allow itself as much flexibility as possible.

West Australian teams Fremantle and West Coast are hoping their stint in a Gold Coast hub does not go past the scheduled four weeks, but their future will be dependent on WA relaxing its rules on interstate travel.

Justin Longmuir hopes the WA clubs’ stint on the Gold Coast won’t be for longer than a month. Photo: ABC News

“Clearly the best-case scenario is that the borders are relaxed here and then we can get back to some normal travel, fly-in, fly-out,” Dockers coach Justin Longmuir said.

“But the AFL has said they’re willing to explore Melbourne teams coming here in a hub situation.

“The AFL has been really supportive. They understand what we’re sacrificing to go over there and they’ve put a lot of things in place to make it as easy as they can for us.

“They understand that after a while, we’ll need to come home to family and friends.”