Ticket sales for next week’s AFL western derby have been temporarily suspended while Western Australia’s state government decides whether to postpone the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
WA was set to enter phase five of restrictions on July 18, meaning crowds at Optus Stadium could increase from 30,000 to a sellout of 60,000.
But a second wave of coronavirus cases in Victoria has now put that in doubt, with WA Premier Mark McGowan to decide later this week whether to proceed with the easing of restrictions.
After a recommendation from the WA government, ticket sales for the July 19 derby between West Coast and Fremantle have been temporarily suspended.
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 temporally 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.