The decision by the AFL not to delay the start of the AFL 2020 season because of COVID-19 provided a level of certainty for the club, Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick said.

The AFL advised late on Friday that both the NAB AFL Women’s and Toyota AFL Premiership seasons will continue, however no fans will be permitted to attend matches for the foreseeable future.

Fans who have purchased tickets for round one of the AFL season via Ticketmaster and Ticketek will receive a refund, while Fremantle members will be communicated to prior to our round two home game at Optus Stadium against Hawthorn.

Freo’s undefeated AFLW team is due to play the Western Bulldogs at VU Whitten Oval on Sunday, while the AFL team’s round one clash is set for Saturday week at Marvel Stadium against Essendon.

“Although we have been planning and preparing to play round one as scheduled, we can now focus on that task with a greater degree of certainty,” Garlick said.

Given that games will be played in empty stadiums for the foreseeable future, we will now work closely with the AFL to determine what the appropriate course of action is for our members, prior to our first home game in round two.

- Simon Garlick

“The players and coaching staff have done a tremendous job to remain focused on preparing for our round one away game against Essendon as best they can, despite the uncertainty and disruption caused to everyone’s lives by COVID-19.”

The coronavirus continues to be a growing concern globally, and, like many other organisations, the Fremantle Dockers are taking appropriate precautions and actions in accordance with the advice provided by the relevant health and government authorities.

“First and foremost, the health and safety of players, staff, volunteers, members, supporters and the broader community is our number one priority,” Garlick said.

“We have deployed a range of measures which are designed to reduce the risk of our people being exposed to COVID-19.”

They include:

  • Restricting external visitors to the club’s training and administration facility at Cockburn Central.
  • Request that members and supporters refrain from attending training at Cockburn Central
  • Reduction in appearances by players and coaches, including programs conducted by the club’s Community Goals
  • Introduction of flexible workplace arrangements to include working from home for certain administration staff
  • Restrictions on staff and player/coaching staff movements between administration and football department
  • All club facility tours, including school groups, on hold until further notice.
  • Increase in onsite cleaning services, including additional night cleans and availability of hand sanitizers, soaps and cleaning products.

Garlick acknowledged that some of the measures may cause disappointment and frustration for Fremantle’s our members and supporters.

“In what are incredibly challenging times for each and every one of us, we hope that our loyal and passionate members and supporters understand and appreciate that these temporary measures have been introduced to benefit the health and safety of all,” Garlick said.

“Justin Longmuir’s mantra since being appointed senior coach has been ‘we are all in this together’.

“For me, and now more than ever, those words should serve as a rallying call for all of us in such uncertain times.”