International

A-League continues without fans as two teams face quarantine

2020-03-16 06:25
Soccer
Soccer

Football Federation Australia decided Monday to press ahead with A-League games without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite two teams who played in New Zealand at the weekend having to be quarantined.

The domestic tournament has six rounds left with organisers planning to condense the remaining matches into three or four weeks. The women's W-League has only its final to play.

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the decision to keep going was made in consultation with clubs, while taking into account the latest government advice.

"The health and safety of all members of the football community, including players, coaches, referees, volunteers, administrators and fans continues to be of paramount importance," he said. 

"We will continue to work with the government and seek advice as the situation changes."

Ten of the 11 teams in the A-League are Australian, with the exception of New Zealand's Wellington Phoenix who beat Melbourne Victory 3-0 in the New Zealand capital on Sunday.

Phoenix will travel to Sydney on Tuesday and undergo a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period, in line with new government rules for all arrivals.

The Australian team were unable to meet the quarantine deadline of midnight Sunday, meaning they too will have to self-isolate, a turn of events that was labelled "a disgrace" by the leader of the players' union.

John Didulica said the team would not have gone to New Zealand if they had known about having to spend 14 days in isolation on their return, with the decision only announced by the government on Sunday.

"It's a disgrace. If we had been told this was a possibility then we would not have flown over there," he told reporters.

The FFA also announced that grassroots football would proceed, but with only essential participants allowed to attend.

On Sunday, Australia's rugby league bosses decided to continue their season, which only started this weekend, behind closed doors. 

The country's most popular spectator sport, Australian Rules football, said its season would begin on Thursday as scheduled but also with no spectators.

Southern hemisphere rugby union authorities at the weekend suspended the Super Rugby season, which spans five countries - Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.

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