AFL indecisive, sports reel from COVID-19

A decision on whether the AFL season will commence as scheduled on Thursday is yet to be made.
A decision on whether the AFL season will commence as scheduled on Thursday is yet to be made.

As major sporting events around the world continued to fall like dominoes, Australia's major football codes continued to dither over their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French Open, Euro 2020 and Copa America, which the Socceroos were slated to take part in, on Wednesday became the latest notable sporting events to be postponed because of the health crisis.

It came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a series of new restrictions designed to help curb the spread of coronavirus in Australia

He flagged that some measures, such as those preventing crowds from attending sport fixtures, could last at least six months but stopped short of telling the AFL and NRL what to do.

Without that direction, indecision reigned supreme as AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and NRL counterpart Todd Greenberg mulled their next steps

McLachlan, who cut an exhausted figure on Monday while outlining his vision of salvaging the 2020 campaign by trimming it to 17 games, intended on Tuesday to make a call on whether Thursday night's season opener would proceed.

Tuesday became Wednesday.

AFLPA boss Paul Marsh admitted on SEN, within minutes of Morrison's address, that "it doesn't look good" but Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was notably more upbeat later in the morning.

AFL club chief executives made their views clear to the league and early reports suggested a verdict could come as early as 2pm AEDT after an AFL commission meeting.

The marathon debrief, in which the views of players, clubs, officials and experts were presumably tabled, dragged on with no announcement as of 6pm.

Coaches and players turned to social media some 24 hours before Richmond and Carlton's stars were due to arrive at the MCG, desperate to hear anything, but were soundly disappointed.

The short-term future of the NRL, which pushed on with round one in front of crowds during the previous weekend, also remained clouded

Clubs prepared for round two to start on Thursday night as the NRL considered sending the entire competition into lockdown in one location in an effort to keep the season running through the health crisis.

Uncertainty gripping the sporting landscape was also reflected in the NBL, which is yet to decide who should be declared champions after abandoning its five-game finals series with Perth leading Sydney 2-1.

The rest of the A-League season will continue mainly on Australia's east coast, while Football Federation Australia confirmed Melbourne City would host Sydney FC in the W-League grand final at the Victorian capital's AAMI Park on Saturday.

Supercars was more decisive on Wednesday, when it announced racing would be postponed until June.

Meanwhile, expectations continued to grow that the Tokyo Olympics could be cancelled or postponed despite organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insisting it will go ahead.

The IOC was set to hold a teleconference with National Olympic Committees overnight.

Australian Associated Press