AFL clubs will be told of draft nominees who don’t intend to be vaccinated

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The AFL will tell clubs if any draft nominees do not intend to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before they make their selections in this year’s national draft, in order to guard against players being added to a list who aren’t eligible to play or train due to the league’s vaccination policy.

Players who have nominated for the draft were told in a letter sent this week that they must inform the league before this Friday, November 12, if they either won’t agree to be vaccinated, or will be applying for a medical exemption.

AFL clubs will be informed before the draft of potential draftees who don’t intend to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Credit:Joe Armao

If a draft nominee does not inform the leaguethat they do not intend to be fully vaccinated, or consider themselves medically exempt and are subsequently drafted, they may be subject to a sanction under AFL rules. The AFL has also offered support and wellbeing advice to any potential draftee who has concerns about the vaccination policy.

Draft nominees who are fully vaccinated, or intend to become fully vaccinated, do not have to inform the AFL of their status, and clubs have been allowed to ask potential draftees whether they had any issues with being vaccinated during their interview process.

With Victoria requiring all authorised workers to be fully vaccinated by November 26, and the national draft occurring on November 24 and 25, the players have been told there is a chance they will not be able to immediately train with their clubs.

Any player drafted to a Victorian club will need to be fully vaccinated to start training immediately after the draft, while those drafted to clubs based in NSW will have until December 17 to be fully vaccinated. Those drafted to clubs based in Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia will have until February 18 to be fully vaccinated.

The directive comes as it was revealed on Tuesday night that Carlton had one player who was vax-hesitant less than a month out from being required back at training on December 6. If the player remains unvaccinated at that time, then he will not be able to enter Ikon Park to train and will be at risk of breaching their contract.

While sources remained hopeful the player would choose to be vaccinated, rather than derail his career, the Blues have the option of placing the player on the inactive list and replacing him via the pre-season supplementary list process or in the mid-season draft.

However, Carlton would need to have the required list spots available as well as room in the salary cap to make that move, with their priority at the moment supporting the vax-hesitant player as he makes his decision.

The AFL said in October they only expected a handful of players to be directly affected by the vaccination policy.

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