We're in unprecedented times, and we know you've got plenty of questions.
Below you can find some FAQs relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There are still so many questions we don’t have answers for, but we will update this page and continue to provide regular updates when new information becomes available.
During these challenging times, we can't thank Essendon members enough for their continued support. You are the lifeblood of our club and we appreciate your support more than ever.
LAST UPDATED: May 19, 2020
When will the season resume?
The AFL season will officially resume on June 11. While a fixture is not yet known, round two will commence from that particular Thursday evening and the full home and away season will then hopefully roll unimpeded throughout the next 16 weeks. It will then be completed with the normal four-week finals series.
As flagged by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, that would roughly ensure that the Grand Final is played on October 24. However, due to the unprecedented series of events that have preceded this and the unpredictable nature of this pandemic, the situation remains fluid. Training for all clubs resumed on May 18.
How will it be structured?
The season will likely remain with fixtures played in their traditional timeslots between Thursdays and Sundays. While the AFL's football operations boss Steve Hocking is still finalising the logistical details, we can expect the reduced 16-minute quarters will continue after being implemented for round one in March.
Questions regarding increased numbers on the interchange bench, potential unlimited rotations and how fit senior-listed players who don't feature in their club's best teams will secure match practice remains unknown. Fixtures for matches will be released in blocks of four-to-six weeks, with the first allotment of matches set to be revealed at some stage over the next week.
What are the rules at training?
Clubs will resume non-contact training in groups of eight from May 18, before returning to full-scale contact training from May 25. From there, clubs will be allowed to take part in two sessions per week, with all players and staff to follow strict medical and social distancing protocols throughout.
What are the player protocols?
Having initially been tested in the week prior to training returning, all players from across the competition must undergo COVID-19 testing at least 24 hours before every session. That ensures players will undergo a minimum of two tests per week, while guaranteeing that the results of each test will be known before they complete a session with teammates.
In addition, players will also have their temperature taken upon arriving at club facilities each day. Beyond that, players will be subjected to tighter social distancing restrictions in everyday life, while the living situations of players, their family members and their housemates will also be monitored.
What happens if a player tests positive?
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has confirmed that the implications of a positive test result would depend on the circumstance and context of that particular player or staff member. The regular testing means diagnosing when and how a certain player has tested positive will be clearer, as well as who they have been in contact with since returning a positive test result.
The scale and the implications of a positive test will be a question for medical staff. Should a player breach medical and social distancing protocols, there will be a framework of sanctions – that have been agreed upon in conjunction with the AFL Players' Association – that will punish players. That framework will be released in the coming days.
How can I support the club during these challenging times?
The best way to support the club is to maintain your membership in 2020.
The club this week announced a series of options for access members, with a number of benefits to be offered to members who maintain their support in 2020, including a complimentary upgrade for 2021 or an Essendon guernsey signed by a player.
Alternatively, members can maintain their membership by converting their membership to a tax-deductible donation, which the club will facilitate through the Australian Sports Foundation on their behalf.
The club will invite members to choose an option next week, with communication to be staggered by product over multiple days.
What will happen with the AFL Grand Final and finals series?
The finals series will continue as a traditional four-week model. The AFL Grand Final will be played at the MCG on a fluid date in October.
Will the shortened 2020 season mean a longer 2021 season?
It appears unlikely. Speaking in April, Gillon McLachlan said a number of factors including venue availability, increased demands on players and existing contracts with venues and broadcasters meant it would be unlikely the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season will span for longer than the normal 23 rounds. There had previously been a widespread view among clubs that additional matches would need to be played next season in order for both teams and the League to recover from the financial pitfalls of the COVID-19 crisis.
What's happened to the club's staff?
In response to this significant challenge, the club has moved to drastically cut operating costs to help the club get through this period. As a result, the club made the heartbreaking in the week commencing March 24 to stand down more than 75 per cent of its staff, across every operational area of the club, until further notice.
A minimum number of staff will be working in the foot
These extremely tough decisions were not taken lightly but were made to protect the club in the short term and the employment of our people for the long term.
What’s happening with the VFL and VFLW seasons?
All state league competitions across the country, including the VFL and VFLW, have been suspended indefinitely. Players not selected in the AFL team won't be able to play state league footy in 2020.
Will community footy go on?
The AFL has postponed all Auskick programs around the country until at least May 31. All independently governed community football leagues across the country have also been advised to postpone their seasons until at least May 31.
Is the NEC Hangar open?
The NEC Hangar is closed to fans and all members of the public until further notice.
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. Where possible, we will ensure additional signing opportunities are made available later in the year for our members and supporters.
Are there any fan engagement activities coming up?
During this period of physical isolation from fans, the club's digital team is more determined than ever to serve you. Where possible, Dons Digital will be doing all it can to bring you closer to the club than ever before and show you just how big your role is.
Is the Bomber Shop still taking orders online?
Yes. The Bomber Shop is still operating online. You can claim your member discount by entering your member ID in the promo code section. To keep in touch with special deals, follow the Bomber Shop on Instagram. For further enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the latest updates
To stay up to date with the latest developments, members and fans are encouraged to check their contact details are correct by logging in at efc.com.au.
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