The 2020 AFL season has been postponed until at least May 31 after just one round due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Clubs were on Sunday afternoon informed of the decision reached by the AFL Commission. The scheduled Hawthorn-Brisbane and West Coast-Melbourne games will be completed to finish round one.
"To say this is the most serious threat to our game in 100 years is an understatement. It is unprecedented in its impact. It is unprecedented in the impact it is having on our game and the wider community, and as a community and as a code, we all need to take the unprecedented and required actions to get through this together," Mr McLachlan said.
"I know that everyone involved in our game and our millions of supporters will be impacted by this decision and that many people will suffer significant hardship as are people right across the community but I also know that we all have a responsibility to the community and each other. And we have the will to work collectively to overcome this crisis."
After Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday morning announced the latest series of drastic measures to counter the coronavirus outbreak, including the banning of non-essential travel, and the endorsement of the states issuing their own border-shutdowns, many AFL clubs felt the season had to be stopped.
Some players were against the decision to actually start the year, a decision the AFL Commission only reached last Wednesday, 24 hours before the Richmond-Carlton season opener at the MCG.
In a phone hook-up of club officials, the AFL said no matches would be played before June, but it is known that that timeframe could be significantly pushed back.
There remains, though, a commitment to somehow play the remaining 144 matches of the 2020 season, which was last week reduced to a 17-game-per-team fixture.