The AFL has set its sights on Canberra as a quarantine hub during a mad scramble to relocate Victorian clubs, after launching discussions with the ACT government.
The AFL's 10 Victorian clubs are poised to relocate potentially as early as next week with the ACT, NSW and Gold Coast being sounded out about housing teams.
AFL officials contacted the ACT government on Wednesday about the prospect of hosting a quarantine hub and matches at Manuka Oval following a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.
However the government is seeking clarification on the health measures it would need to put in place to ensure the safety of the Canberra community as well as AFL players and staff.
Government officials say details remain scarce about how many clubs would be based in Canberra and how long they would stay, should the AFL decide to use the capital as a hub.
The ACT boasts no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 and restrictions have begun to ease, while Manuka Oval is up to AFL standard having become the GWS Giants' second home for the best part of a decade.
League bosses are hoping to have a decision on the next phase of the competition within the next 24 to 48 hours.
A fixture has been published up to round seven, which concludes on July 5. However AFL officials have shown they are willing to make changes on the run as they look to bounce back from the pandemic.
Discussions were ongoing with the Giants about bringing games to Canberra to kickstart the ninth season of a 10-year, $23 million deal with the ACT government.
But the AFL is willing to bring a raft of other clubs to Canberra in a bid to keep the season from grinding to a halt.
"The ACT government has been in regular contact with the AFL and the Giants during the pandemic," an ACT government spokesperson said.
"Discussions to date have focussed on the Giants playing home games at Manuka Oval in late August and early September.
"Following the COVID outbreak in Melbourne, the AFL contacted the ACT government [on Wednesday] to understand our capacity to potentially host more AFL teams and matches at some stage this season.
"We are seeking more detail and information from the AFL so we can consider this proposition, including what teams would be based in the ACT and for how long.
"The government is also seeking further information on the appropriate public health measures that would need to be in place for any arrangement to occur safely for both players and the Canberra community."
We are seeking more detail and information from the AFL so we can consider this proposition, including what teams would be based in the ACT and for how long.The ACT government is open to a hub
The AFL contacted the ACT government on the same day the territory's Opposition leader Alistair Coe dubbed Canberra "an obvious choice" to host a quarantine hub.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has said he would be open to hosting Giants games later this year provided crowds are allowed into the venue.
That would seem a near certainty at this stage with the Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies set to play in front of small crowds at Canberra Stadium this week.
A match return fee of about $400,000 plus GST per match which the government pays the Giants would be scaled back to reflect how many fans are allowed into the venue.
Talks about renewing the deal have stalled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with the government and club prioritising more pressing matters.