The match between the Power and Saints scheduled for China will be played in Australia. (AAP: Ben Macmahon )
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The AFL has cancelled the St Kilda versus Port Adelaide match in China because of coronavirus fears.
- The AFL said the decision was made because it did not want to compromise the health and safety of players and supporters
- The fixture has been rescheduled for Melbourne’s Docklands stadium in round 12
- The Power wants to play again in Shanghai next season
The round 11 premiership match — a St Kilda home fixture — had been scheduled for May 31 in Shanghai, but will now be played at Melbourne’s Docklands stadium on June 7 in round 12.
“Our team have monitored the situation in China closely,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said in a statement.
“We have taken advice from the Australian Government, the World Health Organisation and our chief medical officer.
“It is evident that the coronavirus still poses a significant risk internationally and quite simply we will not compromise the health and safety of any of our clubs, supporters and AFL team members.”
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said the club hoped to return to China next season.
“Whilst we are disappointed that the Shanghai game has been cancelled, today’s announcement doesn’t do anything to diminish our enthusiasm and belief in what our China strategy offers,” he said.
“We’ll be looking to double down in 2021 to make the game-day experience bigger and better.”
Port Adelaide wants to return to China to play a premiership match in 2021. (AAP: David Mariuz)
The AFL’s decision to move the match was made in consultation with its Shanghai-based event partner, Juss Sports.
Both the Saints and the Power will now have a bye in round 11, instead of round 12.
The fixture scheduled for Shanghai was set to be the Saints’ second as part of a three-year deal to play a match in China each year.
Gold Coast had previously played matches in China in 2017 and 2018.
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