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AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says crowds could still be allowed before end of coronavirus hit 2020 season

Gillon McLachlan is increasingly buoyant about the prospect of AFL fans returning to the stands this season.

Less than two weeks out from the 2020 season resuming, the AFL chief executive is growing more upbeat on having socially-distanced crowds at some point this year.

McLachlan says the league has finalised about 80 per cent of their crowd plan, with preparations and falling community infection rates leaving things in “good shape”.

I reckon every day that goes past there’s a better chance,” he told 3AW on Friday.

“I’m not going to run ahead of the health officials and the governments.

“But I do feel that the community’s doing such an unbelievable job, and our officials and health officers are doing such a good job, that we’re heading in a direction where we’re getting back to life.

“What that looks like and if it’s possible, I don’t know. But we’ll be ready.”

Fans could be greeted at venue gates with temperature checks as part of safety measures if crowds were permitted, he said.

With rugby league returning on Thursday night, McLachlan admitted he was a fan of the NRL’s canned crowd noise that was pipped into Nine Network and Fox League’s broadcasts.

The AFL’s television partners, Seven Network and Fox Footy, are exploring the technology ahead of Richmond facing Collingwood at the MCG on June 11.

“I thought it was a positive,” McLachlan said.

“Our broadcasters I know are looking at lots of different things. They’re certainly looking at that.

“I thought it added to the atmosphere of the game.

“There’s some real skill in it … they’re just wanting to get it right.”

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