Chief executive Andrew Demetriou says the AFL will work around a Patersons Stadium fixture clash that could force West Coast or Fremantle to travel on a six-day break during the finals.
A rugby union international between the Wallabies and the Springboks has been booked at Patersons Stadium on Saturday, September 8, complicating the first two weeks of the AFL finals series.
There is a strong chance West Coast will meet Fremantle in a week one elimination final, which would need to be played on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon because of the rugby clash.
For the last two seasons, the Friday night slot has been used to open September with a qualifying final clash between top four teams.
If a derby final eventuated and was played on Sunday afternoon, it is likely the winner would have to travel in week two of the finals with a six-day preparation.
“It’s probably not ideal that it (the rugby international) occurs in September, but we’ll work around that,” Demetriou said in Perth on Monday.
“We’ve spoken to the government and the Football Commission today about trying to avoid that in the future.
“It has an impact on the rest of the finals from the perspective of six-day breaks and seven-day breaks and travelling.
“We’ve tabled that we should avoid that in the future and that’s what we’ll do.”
Another possible scenario has West Coast and Fremantle both hosting finals in week one if they finish fifth and sixth.
Demetriou said the team that finished higher would continue to receive preference in finals scheduling where six-day breaks and travel were concerned.
The AFL Commission has been in Perth since Saturday holding talks with West Coast, Fremantle, the WA Government and WA Football Commission.
The League was given a detailed briefing on Monday about the new Perth Stadium, which AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said was “one of the most outstanding projects we’ve seen”.
The stadium precinct master plan was outlined last Friday, with construction set to begin in mid 2013 and AFL premiership fixtures to be played from the start of the 2018 season.
Demetriou said the AFL had not confirmed what its financial contribution would be to the project.
“What’s being planned at the Burswood site is really phenomenal,” he said.
“It’s a huge commitment and it’s going to leave a magnificent legacy in this state.
“What you’re looking at with today’s stadia, you just know whatever’s going to be built here will be better.
“That’s the most exciting thing about this stadium, it could be anything.”