MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Carlton fans celebrate a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Crowds will return to the football in Melbourne this week for the first time since round 10.

The AFL have today finalised discussions with the Victorian Government and health officials to have up to 25,000 fans back at games this weekend.

The AFL confirmed on Wednesday that crowds would be back and in force. They have confirmed there will be 25,000 fans in Melbourne this weekend at both Marvel Stadium and the MCG.

There is hope that the week after this we will see venues including the MCG and Marvel Stadium welcome in 85% capacity.

The AFL said in a statement that fans won't have to wear masks when at their seats and that clubs would be in contact with fans this week regarding ticketing details.

"The 25,000 approval means both Club and AFL Members will receive priority to attend, with General Public on-sale only to be permitted if club member allocations are not taken up," the statement read.

"Clubs will be in touch directly with their members on ticketing access in the coming 24 hours, and a General Public on-sale will be communicated if applicable.

"The roof at Marvel Stadium will remain open for the two matches this weekend and in line with community wide mask restrictions, all fans, aged 12 and above, will be required to wear a face mask when moving throughout both the MCG and Marvel Stadium, unless they have a medical exemption – this includes when entering and exiting the stadium, inside function rooms, going to the bathroom or when purchasing food and beverage or merchandise.

"Fans are not required to wear a facemask when in their allocated seats.

Acting Premier James Merlino said that the AFL will host up to 25,000 this week with eyes to a huge step forward the week after.

"From 11:59pm tomorrow night, outdoor stadiums can have 50% of the venue capacity up to 25,000 people. This means that the A-League grand final can proceed with 15,000 people and the MCG can host 25,000 people," Merlino said.

"From the following week, commencing 11:59pm on July 1 and subject to public health advice, indoor and outdoor stadiums will be able to increase to 85% capacity, so that includes the MCG, Marvel Stadium and AAMI Park. Theatres will return to 100% capacity."

The news is welcomed relief for clubs in Melbourne with a lot of them spending the last month on the road around the country.

The announcement has been left for what seems like the latest possible time with Richmond set to host St Kilda at the MCG on Friday night.

The irony of the situation is that Melbourne has fast become a refuge for the New South Wales based clubs with GWS and Sydney both headed to Melbourne to avoid the NSW COVID outbreak.

GWS' clash with Hawthorn has been moved from GIANTS Stadium to the MCG, meanwhile Sydney are considering travelling to Melbourne in order to be able to depart for South Australia with no issues.

Embed from Getty Images They remain hopeful of gaining an ever-more likely exemption to travel from Sydney on game-day on a fly-in, fly-out basis. The players and club officials will then be tested when they arrive in SA.

The Swans are living under AFL bubble rules, only attending the club for training before being directed to go straight home.