20/04/2024
The floating fixture is back for 2021 after its induction this year, but just how has it been received by the football public?

The floating fixture from the 2020 AFL season will be making a return in 2021.

In the announcement for the changes to next season, one of the biggest talking points amongst fans has been the decision to continue with the floating fixture as a precautionary measure to remain flexible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A fixture for rounds 1 to 6, which includes ANZAC Day, will be released before the end of December.

The following rounds, 7 to 23, match-ups will also be set at that time and venue, however, these won’t include dates, timeslot or choice of TV broadcaster. 

This will leave the remaining 17 rounds up in the air for fans hoping to maximise their attendance.

The plan is for the remainder of the season to be released in four to six round blocks, with the hope to give clubs at least four weeks notice before each fixture drop.

Reaction from fans has been largely negative with a poll run by the AFL Fans Association as it stands receiving over 80 per cent in no responses when asking; ‘Do AFL fans like the idea of the floating fixture?’

The Inner Sanctum spoke to AFL Fans Association president Cheryl Critchley for comment regarding the changes.

“Fans understand the need for the AFL to be cautious in its approach to 2021 fixturing, and public safety must come first,” she said.

“However, a floating fixture could make it more difficult for some supporters to attend games, especially those who travel from regional areas and interstate.”

“Pre-COVID, some fans literally planned their whole season in advance and secured discount airfares months ahead of time.”

“If airfares and accommodation need to be purchased closer to match day, it could cost more. Some may also find it difficult to arrange work leave with less notice.”

The concerns for fans who need to travel is one being voiced in multiple areas, with supporters around the country being unable to attend games in the 2020 season.

There was also limited attendance in both crowd size and fewer games played at home for a majority of clubs, some will likely be hoping to take advantage of opportunities to get to additional games.

With the flexible fixture it will be harder to work around with there being an expected increase in costs due to the shorter notice, however, airlines will be able to increase prices depending on anticipated travel too and from games, similarly to how they do around finals time.

“While some supporters like the idea of a system that aims to maximise the number of great games on TV, others are worried that it would make it harder for them to attend,” Critchley said.

When asked if there were any changes she’d make Critchley responded; “It’s hard to say at this stage because we don’t know how the COVID situation will pan out.”

“Obviously the more certainty for fans the better, but we understand that no-one is sure yet whether we can have a ‘regular’ season next year. If that becomes more likely, then it would be good if the AFL could lock in as many details as possible to allow fans who attend games to plan ahead.”

The fact that there is no guarantee for a ‘regular’ season for the 2021 season, especially due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, is one that shouldn’t be forgotten by fans.

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3 thoughts on “AFL Fans Association responds to floating fixture

  1. AFL media people, who have the privilege of being paid to attend games, are talking it up. No-one who has to pay to attend games is in favour.

    1. I like to plan my winter holiday tour as a round trip of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and fit in as many Games as possible, this is going to be a bit tricky without knowing where and when games are to be played. Again something that will suit Melbourne supporters with no thought to interstate supporters.

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