Essendon Football Club wishes to provide the following update around the ongoing uncertainty and community challenges relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Our club’s No.1 priority is the health and welfare of our people, including supporters, staff and players. This issue is unprecedented for our industry and the club is taking, and continues to take, reasonable and considered steps to mitigate the risks around the coronavirus alert.

This has included the formation of an internal working group that will interact directly with the club’s audit risk and integrity committee, as well as the AFL’s working group led by general counsel Andrew Dillon.

As more detail comes to hand from medical experts, the club has taken specific preventative action to directly protect the players and football department from the virus.

This means the NEC Hangar will be closed to members of the public until further notice. As a result, unfortunately players will be unavailable to sign autographs at any upcoming open training sessions.

While we believe this is an appropriate step to try and reduce exposure for our playing group, the club apologises for any inconvenience this may cause. We will ensure additional signing opportunities are made available later in the year for our members and supporters.

Unless otherwise advised by the AFL and in accordance with advice from the league’s chief medical officer and the Australian Government, it is business as usual for round one for our game against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium.

The club is continuing to work closely with the AFL and the relevant authorities to monitor the situation and will provide further updates to members when available.

During this time, we encourage our members and supporters to continue to look after their families and loved ones, particularly the elderly.

We appreciate your understanding and your ongoing support of the Mighty Bombers.