AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the competition is growing more optimistic of fans being allowed to attend games this season.

The League's hopes of getting socially distanced crowds into matches at some stage in 2020 looked remote when the competition was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

But with the season due to restart in under two weeks, there is fresh confidence that supporters may be back in the stands at some stage.


"We've got a pretty much finalised, 80 per cent done, crowd plan in terms of how we'd go working within the rules and we've got international learnings, and are working with venues and specialists," McLachlan told 3AW on Friday.

"But it's the same as where we've been before. We'll be ready when government and health officers say we're right. There's various spectrums of that depending on where community infection rates are at and how flexible we can be.

"But we're working on that and I think we're in good shape."

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McLachlan said fans getting temperature checks before entering a game is "an option" if government restrictions are eased to allow crowds to return to the footy, which is becoming a more live hope. 

"I reckon every day that goes past there's a better chance. This is one where I'm not going to run ahead of the health officials and the government," he said.

"But I do feel that the community's doing an unbelievable job, and our officials and health officials are doing such a good job, that we're heading in a direction where we're getting back to life.

"What that looks like and when that's possible, I don't know, but we'll be ready."


Meanwhile, McLachlan said increasing the interchange bench numbers was unlikely for this year, and all but ruled out reduced 16-minute quarters continuing in 2021.

"I don't think so," he said. "We are looking at things all the time, but the 20 minutes to 16 is for the flexibility we need to get through this season.

"Our broadcasters understand, our supporters, our clubs and others, but it's not something we're contemplating for next year."

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The AFL boss also praised the virtual crowd noise used during the NRL's return on Thursday night.

"I thought the canned crowd noise was good, I thought it was a positive," McLachlan said.

"I thought it added to the atmosphere of the game.

"Our broadcasters, I know, are looking at lots of different things. I know they're looking at that.

"I've seen a couple of things they've been trying … but they've been trying some stuff. There's some real skill in it – some technical stuff. They're wanting to get it right."