AFL crowds to be at full capacity for Round One (Image: AFL)

The opening round of the 2022 AFL Premiership Season has received a huge boost with crowd caps set to be scrapped.

The AFL has announced that stadiums in Victoria will be able to have 100 percent capacity when the 2022 AFL Premiership season kicks off next month.

Having been forced to play with limited crowds or behind closed doors due to COVID restrictions, the MCG, Marvel Stadium, GMHBA Stadium, and Mars Stadium won’t be subjected to any limits for the commencement of the opening round of the upcoming season.

The 2022 AFL season kicks off with a festival of football in Victoria with all 10 Victorian-based clubs playing in action in their home state for the opening round. It will be the first time since Round 20 2016 that all 10 clubs have played in Victoria in the same round.

The season kicks off on March 16 with a rematch between last season’s grand finalists Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs will play in a standalone Wednesday night timeslot, where the reigning Premiers Melbourne will unfurl their flag before beginning their premiership defence.

It will be followed by the traditional Thursday night Round One clash between Carlton and Richmond at the MCG with St Kilda playing Collingwood at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
Geelong will host Essendon in their annual Country Game at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, with Hawthorn taking on North Melbourne on Sunday at the MCG to finish off the Victorian football festival.

The 100 percent capacity limits will also apply to the final round of the AFLW home and away season and finals series.

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“We want to get big crowds back to the footy, the weekly ritual of being able to go to a game and the sense of community it creates, connecting families and friends is something we have missed in the state.” AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the Victorian State Government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula, and Minister for Health Martin Foley for continuing to work with us and safely get as many fans back to the footy as possible.

We have a big finish to our AFLW home and away season which again has been warmly embraced by fans and supporters across the state, rolling straight into our AFL season and the Grand Final rematch on the Wednesday night at the MCG.
“Our AFLW Finals series and start of our AFL Season is an exciting time for fans, we look forward to seeing crowds return to our venues in huge numbers as well as to all the surrounding business and venues that rely on footy and big events being staged across the city.

“Footy can hopefully help bring the heartbeat of the city back to Melbourne and back to the state of Victoria.”

Club members will be able to return to scanning their membership at the gate, and general public walk-up tickets will be available at the venues with ticketing information to be released in the coming weeks.
Attendees will still be required to check-in in with the Services Victoria app to confirm their vaccination status on entry to the venue, and masks will be required when moving around stadiums with more than 30,000 fans, however not when fans are seated outdoors.

Venues with a capacity of less than 30,000, including GMHBA Stadium and Mars Stadium do not require approval to host capacity crowds under current COVIDSafe Settings.

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