May 15, 2020 / 1:26 AM / 20 days ago

Australian Rules-AFL clubs to return to training on Monday

MELBOURNE, May 15 (Reuters) - Australian Football League clubs will return to training on Monday ahead of next month’s restart of the Australian Rules top flight, Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said on Friday.

The AFL, the country’s most popular winter sport, was suspended in March after one round of the season when domestic travel curbs to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak made the competition untenable.

“I’m happy to say we’ll be getting going training on Monday,” McLachlan told local radio station 3AW.

“We’ll have a week of non-contact (training) and contact training twice a week from (May) 25th.”

The AFL is yet to announce a restart date for the competition but may provide details at a media conference later on Friday.

The 18-team AFL’s resumption has been complicated by authorities in southern states declining to give clubs exemptions from travel curbs and quarantine restrictions.

McLachlan confirmed that clubs in South Australia and Western Australia would have to locate themselves in hubs in eastern states where authorities have granted exemptions.

Australia, which has reported 98 deaths and less than 7,000 COVID-19 cases, has begun to loosen social distancing restrictions after infection rates plunged. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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