If all this weren’t quite so serious it’d probably be extremely funny. And even then, it almost certainly is. The AFL’s return-to-play plans – specifically, the mooted Adelaide vs Port Adelaide Showdown game in Round 2 – have hit a minor snag because not enough umpires live in South Australia.
The South Australian Government unexpectedly gave both Adelaide teams the OK to resume full contact training from next Monday, which had paved the way for a potential Crows/Power clash to be held in Adelaide in Round 2.
However, the State Government is still barring fly in/fly out personnel, which means broadcast teams and, more importantly, umpires will not be able to enter the state for the game without entering a 14-day quarantine.
The problem with that, is that there’s only 2 AFL accredited umpires living in South Australia, which isn’t nearly enough to staff a full AFL game.
Though league officials are lobbying the SA Government for special permission, it remains a remote possibility, meaning both the Crows and Power will have to relocate to the Gold Coast training and playing hub along with West Coast and Fremantle as previously planned.
Umpires, officials and broadcast members are subject to quarantine. There are only two Afl umpires available in Adelaide. It’s caused a fixture delay pending resolution, and the round 2 showdown may be a no go https://t.co/pLRBsFYm4m
— Tom Browne (@TomBrowne7) May 21, 2020
This administrative brouhaha is the last major domino that’s holding up the release of the reformatted season fixture, with AFL officials pursuing the possibility of a Friday night Showdown clash at the Adelaide Oval as part of the Round 2 structure. If they can’t get the necessary personnel to the game, it’s likely the league will hold off on scheduling the hotly anticipated game until later in the season when restrictions are further loosened.
AFL bosses are unwilling to utilise SANFL umpires for the games, making this whole ballyhoo even more of a farce.
The release of the Round 2 fixture is now expected early next week.
Footy! You love to see it.Image: Getty Images / Matt Turner