AFL Rd 14 -  Hawthorn v Essendon
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Luke Breust of the Hawks competes with Devon Smith of the Bombers during the round 14 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Essendon Bombers at Adelaide Oval on August 27, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has denied Essendon’s request to move their Round 1 clash against the Hawks to the MCG.

The Bombers are due to face Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium but earlier this week lodged a request with the AFL to have it moved to the ‘G to allow more fans to attend.

In compliance with the Victorian Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, venues in Melbourne will operate at 50 per cent capacity for the beginning of the season, limiting Marvel Stadium to just 28,961 spectators, while the MCG could hold up to 50,000.

McLachlan confirmed to AFL Media that the Bombers game would not be moved.

“No, it won’t (be changed),” he said.

“There’s huge knock-on consequences of moving games.

“Melbourne are playing the same day. I think we’ve got to respect the Melbourne membership that they want to play their fixture at the MCG.

“There’s just knock-ons everywhere.

“I understand the ask, to the extent it’s been raised. We just plan on getting a great round of football away.

“The game’s fixtured.”

As first reported yesterday by AFL journalist Sam McClure, the Bombers had asked the league to move the game to the MCG, leading to speculation Melbourne’s clash with Fremantle in the earlier 1:45pm slot could be relocated.

Speaking to SEN earlier today, Melbourne Chief Executive Gary Pert ruled out any move.

“The reality is the game will take place at the MCG,” Pert said.

“We’ve got contracts in place with the MCG, the fixture has been established by the AFL, we’ve sold memberships and corporate packages and signage. A lot goes into the organisation of a game.

“It’s certainly not a consideration for us to move the game in any way, shape or form.

“We’re expecting a really strong crowd and there’s certainly a high level of excitement about coming to the MCG for the first game and being part of it again.”

Marvel Stadium, now owned by the AFL, are due to host seven Essendon home games throughout the 2021 season.