The Roar
The Roar


AFL crowds in 2020? Let's not forget the bigger picture

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Roar Rookie
8th June, 2020

One of the most difficult changes that the AFL players, officials, members and supporters have had to get used to in 2020 as a result of Covid-19 is that we have no crowds at our AFL matches.

It is such a weird feeling with no crowds at a blockbuster game at the M.C.G. This upcoming Thursday night match between Collingwood and Richmond would normally have 80,000-90,000 fans in attendance. Instead, there will just be a handful of coaches, journalists and administrators.

It is a change that everybody in the AFL – and in fact in sport in general – has had to adapt to.

Realistically, when is a return to AFL crowds allowed? This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on so many factors.

I believe that by late July to August 2020 is when will see a return to crowds in some format or another. There are many factors that have to be considered before rushing in and allowing footy fans to flood through the gates of our iconic grounds again, rubbing shoulders with each other as they sing their team songs with a beer in hand.

Besides fans sitting next to each other, a big issue is that there are shared facilities like toilets. There will also need to be social distancing enforced at the ground in some form of a capacity or another, probably until we get a vaccine.

Around the world, ideas to improve the atmosphere at empty grounds have included animated fans and recorded crowd noise.


For the meantime AFL broadcasters are developing a plan to include fan reactions of the watching the games live from home.

We all know this, at the moment it is better to stay safe and healthy and reduce the risk of a second wave of Covid-19.

While it is a long wait, all footy fans know that they will be able to head back to the game one day.