The AFL and Port Adelaide Football Club today announced the Round 11, St Kilda vs Port Adelaide match scheduled for May 31 in Shanghai, China will be relocated to Australia.
The match, a St Kilda home game, will now be held at Marvel Stadium, in Round 12, on Sunday 7 June, commencing at 5.10pm South Australian time and broadcast on Fox Footy and on Ch 7 Adelaide.
Port Adelaide will now have a BYE in Round 11 instead of Round 12.
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said it’s disappointing not to be playing a game in Shanghai this year but remains excited for 2021 and beyond.
“Whilst we are disappointed that the Shanghai game has been cancelled, we are very sensitive to the circumstances currently facing our friends in China and our thoughts are with them at this challenging time,” Mr Thomas said.
“The health and safety of our people – our players, coaches, staff and travelling supporters – was always the number one priority from our perspective.
“Today’s announcement doesn’t do anything to diminish our enthusiasm and belief in what our China strategy offers and we’ll be looking to double down in 2021 to make the game-day experience bigger and better.”
Mr Thomas thanked Port Adelaide supporters for their patience and said all tickets purchased for the game would be refunded.
“We understand it’s been an unsettling time for our supporters who were looking to travel to Shanghai and I thank them for their understanding in the lead up to this announcement.
“Already many of our supporters and corporate partners are expressing a desire to experience our Shanghai game in 2021.
“Mr Gui from Shanghai Cred has been fully informed and he is supportive and understands the decision is in the best interests of all concerned.”
Like Mr Thomas, AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan, said the health and safety of the travelling parties was the number one priority in the decision to move the match.
“Our team have monitored the situation in China closely. We have taken advice from the Australian Government, the World Health Organisation and our Chief Medical Officer,” Mr McLachlan said.
“It is evident that the coronavirus still poses a significant risk in China and quite simply we will not compromise the health and safety of any of our clubs, supporters and AFL team members.
“I would like to thank both the Australian and Chinese Governments, along with the Port Adelaide and St Kilda Football Clubs for their cooperation and shared view of ensuring the health and safety of all was paramount.
“Our relationship with the Chinese community is important, it extends beyond the match day, including key relationships with the business community and we look forward to continuing our support into the future.”