AFL FLAGS VACCINE PASSPORTS
GILLON McLachlan says vaccine passports to attend AFL games next year are a “plausible possibility” but stopped short of a vaccination mandate for all AFL players in 2022.
Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said on Thursday a mandate would have to be “carefully considered” by the league to make a community stand.
The AFL’s working group on vaccinations has now begun an information roll-out to AFL players and encouraged them strongly to become double-vaccinated when supply is available.
McLachlan said on Friday it was natural the league would have to consider vaccine passports to safeguard the league when bumper crowds return.
“Forget what I think, the people in industry and the government are signalling it’s a possibility. Vaccine passports to restaurants, it’s a real thing in the frame. It has to be on the table here. Either to be vaccinated or have a negative PCR test, it’s what is going on in other countries, it’s been discussed. There is no position here but clearly it has to be something as a plausible possibility.”
But McLachlan stopped short of a vaccine mandate as the league considers the potential fallout of Covid positives in the league next year.
Many NFL teams are now 100 per cent vaccinated ahead of the season opener next week, with a range of restrictions and incentives for teams with differing statuses.
“We have got to have that conversation with the key stakeholders,” McLachlan told 3AW.
“We have run a clear education program across the industry, all clubs have had that in the player cohort, we are really strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated – players and coaches – and the decision on the final settings will be made by the end of the season and we don’t need to have the final position until we have supply, which we don’t at the moment. I think I have been pretty clear. We need to be vaccinated as a community to get out of this tough position we are in. We need to work through the process with the clubs and player union on our final setting but we are pretty strong we need to be vaccinated.”