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AFL Grand Final

Victoria’s Racing Minister Martin Pakula says there won’t be a clash between the opening day of the Melbourne Cup carnival and the Grand Final if the AFL fixture falls that way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clouded the AFL fixture with uncertainty over when the Grand Final will be played.

With the borders remaining closed in South Australia and West Australia, a bye may be required, pushing the home-and-away fixture out by a week and the Grand Final to, potentially, Victoria Derby day on October 31.

But Pakula said there was no chance of the Grand Final and the Victoria Derby day meeting clashing.

The Victoria Derby meeting opens the VRC carnival with the Melbourne Cup to be run on November 3.

“If they have to fit a bye in then it becomes more likely that the Grand Final moves to Derby Day weekend,” Pakula told RSN.

“The one thing I’m absolutely certain about is it won’t go head-to-head with the Derby.

“Whether or not you have a Grand Final on Saturday night, or Sunday, or indeed Sunday night, all of those things are possible.

“You could have a bumper period where over four days where you have the VRC Derby, the AFL Grand Final and the Melbourne Cup.”

Pakula said he was disappointed in the way the Melbourne Racing Club had aired their grievance at being denied a date change for the Caulfield Cup carnival by Racing Victoria last week.

RV announced a status quo to the spring carnival dates after investigating a new look brought on by the MRC wanting clean air late in November.

“I do think there is a valid case to be made to have a bigger footprint in November, but vacating big parts of October may not be the way to do that,” he said.

“There is all kinds of approaches you could adopt, bearing in mind the need for country racing as well.

“You do not want to completely dominate that good part with metropolitan racing and leave those good country cups hung out to dry.

“I wouldn’t like to be the person trying to figure out the pattern and the calendar, it’s a really difficult job.”

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