Confusion over why Perth set to be denied AFL grand final parade

Perth’s proposed AFL grand final parade through the streets of the CBD looks set to be shunned in favour of a free ticketed event so organisers can minimise contact between players and fans.

The event will be held on Thursday or Friday before the premiership decider on Saturday September 25 at Optus Stadium.

The AFL grand final parade in Melbourne in 2019. Credit:Eddie Jim

The AFL is expected to announce the two grand final teams will take part in a cordoned-off event at either RAC Arena, Langley Park or Supreme Court Gardens, rather than a convoy through the city’s streets.

It comes after the City of Perth offered to host a street parade – similar to the traditional event held in Melbourne each year – with promises of a city ‘emblazoned in colour with banners up and down St Georges Terrace and decorations in every shopfront’.

The AFL, in a statement, said it had decided to take a conservative approach to the event due to the pandemic, and would seek to minimise interactions between players and the general public, despite all players being free to leave quarantine by the date of the event.

It said security was also a consideration, and the fact it usually takes six months to plan the parade.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said he was not aware of any security threats.

“We offered the opportunity for the grand final parade and clearly it would be a great event, so if the AFL was to hold one obviously we’d work with the City of Perth to make it happen,” he said.

“I’m not going to criticise the AFL, they’re trying to put on a grand final in Perth on the other side of the country at short notice with everything that goes with that, logistically no doubt, that’s a very big task … but the opportunity is there if they would like to do it.”

Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch sought to allay fears about a terrorist attack after some media reported that was the reason behind the decision.

“We’re confident, from a police perspective, we can facilitate anything that the AFL decide to hold in WA,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

“It’s our position that there are no [terrorism] concerns. We have the resources, we have the training, we have the incident management teams ready to go if necessary. We can facilitate a parade.

“We have football games, we have people at events, we have protests, every single one of these events in Perth at any time are managed from a COVID perspective and a security perspective, this is just another one.”

Perth has not hosted a major street event since the introduction of mandatory check-ins in December, with the annual 2020 Christmas pageant held in a reduced capacity at Langley Park, with patrons required to register for a ticket and be assigned to a viewing zone.

The AFL has been contacted for comment.

It comes as tickets to the preliminary final between Melbourne and Geelong, scheduled to take place on Friday night, sold out within hours on Monday.

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