“Look, who knows where this is going,” Fremantle Dockers’ legend Matthew Pavlich told Botica’s Bunch on Wednesday after dropping in to the studio.
Pav was, of course, talking about the ticket sales for next week’s western derby being suspended and gave us a quick primer on where we were at.
“The government said ‘phase five is coming out and we’re gonna release 60,000 tickets, you’re able to have a full-packed stadium’ and everyone was rapt about that,” he explained.
“And then what’s happened, is that Victoria have have had a massive outbreak of COVID-19 and the government are a bit wary about it and saying ‘well, maybe we won’t release Phase 5 early, we’ll keep it at Phase 4 – which would mean only 30,000 tickets.
“Meanwhile, the Dockers and the AFL have released tickets – about 40,000 tickets already sold.”
Depending on infection rates locally, Phase 5 is earmarked to be introduced on Saturday, July 18 (effective from 11.59pm Friday, July 17) and will result in the removal of the 2sqm rule.
The derby is set for the following day, July 19.
It’s understood that Mark McGowan will decide later this week whether to proceed with Phase 5.
“If it goes from 60,000 back to 30,000, there’s going to be 10,000 fans…” Pav trailed off.
“How do you do that?” remarked Fred.
“I don’t know,” Pav replied. “Maybe a ballot, maybe somehow the government say ‘yeah OK we’ll go with 40 [thousand]’.”
Lisa said the government should go with 40,000 tickets.
“Cut it off now, don’t sell any more,” she said.
If the derby is limited to 30,000 fans, it would be a huge blow to the cash-strapped AFL and the Dockers, who are the game’s hosts.
Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick said the club was still planning for a capacity crowd at the game.
“We understand and are more than happy to work with the government’s recommendation to temporarily suspend ticket sales… while remaining optimistic that the game will go ahead with a capacity crowd,” Garlick said.
“The last instance of community transmission in WA was 87 days ago and, in announcing the review of the timing of phase five restrictions, the premier noted that there was no evidence of community spread in WA, which provides us with a level of optimism about the likely outcome of the review.”
With phase four already in effect, up to 30,000 people can attend next week’s Thursday night clash between Geelong and Collingwood in Perth.
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