THE AFL season will be reduced to 17 matches, with all teams playing each other once. 

In an unprecedented move announced on Monday afternoon, League CEO Gillon McLachlan said five matches would be scrapped, at a minimum, due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

 decision on whether round one begins this Thursday night is expected in the next 24 hours.

"This unprecedented situation requires an unprecedented response. Football will find a way through," McLachlan told reporters.

"What we do know is we will get a season away. We don't have all the answers at the moment."

The AFL Players Association will hold two separate briefings with AFL and AFLW players starting from 7pm AEDT on Monday night to gauge the players' stance of playing this weekend.

McLachlan also said: 

- The match-ups in the first four rounds would remain as fixtured, and the rest of the fixture would be adjusted to accommodate the shortened season
- The AFLPA had been receptive to talk of a mass player pay cut
- If a player tested positive to coronavirus, the League would have no choice but to suspend play across the competition

McLachlan also confirmed that he would take a pay cut as part of the industry's wider belt-tightening to cope with the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis.