AFL fans will return to the stands in Melbourne for the first time in more than 12 months, with the state government announcing Marvel Stadium and the MCG will be allowed up to 50 per cent capacity for Round 1 of the season.
This means the MCG will be permitted an even 50,000 spectators, while Marvel Stadium’s total is 28,961.
The increase will begin on Thursday, March 4, meaning nearly 30,000 fans will be able to attend an AAMI Community Series match at Marvel Stadium between Carlton and St Kilda that evening.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has thanked Premier Daniel Andrews for the decision.
“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches, and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season,” McLachlan said.
“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios, and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”
The AFL’s bushfire charity match in February 2020 was the last time crowds of this size have been able to attend matches in the state.
An announcement on Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium and Ballarat’s Mars Stadium, the two other venues in Victoria set to host AFL matches in 2021, has yet to be made. However, neither are fixture to host matches in Round 1.
Previously, attendance in Victoria at sporting events had been capped at 10,000.
The 2021 season is set to open with reigning premiers Richmond hosting Carlton in their traditional contest at the MCG.