Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.
On Friday, the AFL announced the 2020 home and away fixture would continue as scheduled, but fans would not be permitted to attend matches for the foreseeable future. The decision comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to 145 countries and infected over 145,000 people.
"I am disappointed for our fans but we cannot put them in a situation that potentially jeopardises the health and well-being of the whole community," AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said. "Our clubs, players, officials and fans know that the health and safety of all is the No. 1 priority."
Last year, 380,159 people attended Round 1 AFL matches, and that's roughly how many refunds are expected to be handed out to spectators who will no longer be able to head along to games this season.
"Fans who have purchased tickets for Round 1 of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season via Ticketmaster and Ticketek will receive a refund," the statement from McLachlan read. "Club, AFL and venue members will be communicated to in coming days."
The announcement of the refund comes less than 24 hours after the Australian Grand Prix Corporation offered its own financial reimbursement following the cancellation of Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Round 1 of the 2020 AFL season begins on Thursday, March 19th with Carlton and reigning premier Richmond meeting at the MCG.