The 2021 AFL Grand Final will be held in Perth after confirmation from the Victorian Government that the state was not in a place to host a major event in the current Covid environment.
The final will now be played in front of a crowd at the Optus Stadium, and marks the first time the grand final has ever been played in Western Australia,
“We cannot risk the health of Victorians by rushing back to crowds at events before it is safe to do so,” the Victorian Government said in a statement.
In enabling the Grand Final to be relocated, the Victorian Government has secured an arrangement that locks in the sporting event at the MCG for an extra year – until 2059.
In addition, the MCG has been guaranteed an extra eight AFL premiership season matches over the next five AFL seasons, from 2022 to 2026, representing four games over and above the agreement from last year.
These additional matches are on top of the underlying commitment from the AFL to schedule a minimum of 43 premiership matches per season at the MCG.
“This is a decision made in the best interests of the health and safety of Victorians as we continue to drive down the current outbreak,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula.
“It’s also in the best interests of football – if the Grand Final can be played in front of supporters, then it should be.
“We look forward to the Grand Final returning to its traditional home at the MCG in 2022 and for decades beyond.”
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said bringing the final to WA was “very exciting”.
“We have all the protocols in place all the rules in place, as we have for the last two years, to hold football and other sporting events, whereby we have very strict rules in place,” McGowan said.
“We’ve secured this event on our own terms. And we’ve ensured that we put in place the very strictest and strongest protocols to protect West Australia, but it’s very exciting.”