Suns and Port players run on to Jiangwan Stadium, Shanghai on May 14, 2017. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP
Suns and Port players run on to Jiangwan Stadium, Shanghai on May 14, 2017. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

AFL cancels China game

THE AFL has been forced to cancel the Shanghai game between St Kilda and Port Adelaide due to coronavirus.

Round 11's match between the clubs was to be played in the Chinese megacity but instead will head to the Saints' home ground of Marvel Stadium.

An official announcement is expected to be made later this week.

One option being considered is to bring Port Adelaide and St Kilda's bye forward one week to Round 11, with the teams to instead play in Round 12.

Marvel Stadium is free on that round's Sunday.

If the game is kept within Round 11, it would be unclear when it would be played, with matches already scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Marvel.

Thursday night is one possibility, as both teams play on the Saturday of the previous round, while Monday night could work because both teams currently have a bye the next week.

The AFL is having to balance multiple stakeholders to decide when to play the match, including the Chinese Government and Australian broadcasters.

There have been three matches played at Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai, all featuring and won by Port Adelaide.

Gold Coast was paid to host and lose to the Power in 2017 and 2018, while St Kilda took over that role in 2019.

But current advice from the Australian Government is for all residents to avoid travelling to China, due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The centre of the outbreak, the central city of Wuhan in Hubei province, is 800km from coastal Shanghai.

More than 86,500 people have been infected with the disease and nearly 3000 killed - the majority of those have been in China and most in Hubei.

Australians flying in from China are required to spend 14 days in quarantine upon landing, which obviously would impact negatively on the Saints and Power's ability to train after returning home.

with Max Laughton



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