AFL players are bracing for the prospect of playing matches in front of empty stadiums because of the global coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s looking quite concerning for our footy clubs,” Ryan Daniels Seven News Sports reporter told Botica’s Bunch on Wednesday.
“That’s the direction it’s heading, I think we kind of thought this was way, way off.”
On Tuesday, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league would be prepared to stage fixtures without fans.
Lisa queried Daniels if there was any idea about what might happen to people’s memberships.
“I mean, would they have to refund them for the games they’re not allowed to go to?” she asked.
Daniels said the impact would be far-reaching.
“The clubs are going to be hit hard, obviously there’s the members who have paid a lot of money – there’s some expensive seats at this brand-new stadium – I mean, people are going to want their money back,” he replied.
“Then you have places like The Camfield, which rely heavily on [football crowds].
It’s been reported that crowd-less matches could cost some clubs up to $1 million per game.
Daniels said that players had mentioned that it’d be “really weird” to play to empty seats.
“They said that when they go to training, they find it really hard to get themselves up and about because there’s no crowd there,” he said.
“They kick a great goal in a training drill and no one cares, but they do that in front of 50,000 at Optus, the crowd goes wild and they feel like superhumans.
“So, it’ll be interesting to see if the play level actually dips a little bit because these guys really do get pushed on [by the crowd].”