AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan Press Conference
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan speaks to the media during a press conference at AFL House on July 15, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

High-level talks have begun about revolutionising the 2021 AFL season, with shorter quarters and the move of 18 rounds to 28 rounds the main topics being explored.

7NEWS reporter Tom Browne broke the news of the AFL’s thinking towards these new changes, saying that the added revenue would help the AFL during what could be another COVID hit season.

Browne believes the proposed changes may also help with player earnings and their ability to not take significant pay cuts like they have done in 2020.

“Pay discussions between the AFL and the players started this week,” Browne said.

“One of the big issues a lack of revenue next season particularly with no COVID vaccine in sight, there’s no guarantee of crowds certainly meaningful ones.

“One issue officially on the table is the number of games next season.

“A revolutionary fixture model floated in a discussion paper from the AFL that would see 28 games, shortened quarters of about 18 minutes and a festival of football to make up for some of those games.

“The idea is that players clearly don’t want a pay cut, at the same time the AFL might want more labour in return and it could be an appropriate compromise given the circumstances.

“Those talks have heated up, ramped up this week.”

The proposed changes sparked plenty of angst with fans on social media, with some rather seeing the game go back to the original 20-minute quarters instead of the 16-minute quarters of 2020.

“Please just 20 minute quarters,” one footy fan wrote on Twitter in response to the story.

Given the financial challenges, Browne said the decision may be out of the hands of the AFL power brokers.

“A big reaction to this last night. I just want to stress. I don’t think the AFL want to play with the fixture. Or quarter length,” Browne wrote.

“It’s one discussion point. As a means of trying to mitigate and minimise players pay cuts next year.

“Without crowds (big ones) footy in 2021 faces another revenue gap.

“Means men are headed for big pay cut. My personal view – any league initiative to help minimise cut is very positive.

“There is no ‘agenda’ to lengthen season or shorten quarters. It’s not the AFL’s fault.”