July 8 – Australia’s A-League has been plunged into chaos after several failed attempts to get Melbourne-based clubs out of the city amid tightening Covid-19 travel restrictions in the country.
The season is supposed to resume on July 16 but three teams – Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United – have been unable to board a flight to Canberra due to government quarantine requirements in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the country’s smallest state which would have forced them to spend two weeks in quarantine unable to even leave their hotels to train.
“We did absolutely everything we could to get the players and staff out of Victoria by midnight tonight, but in such a rapidly evolving situation, unfortunately it was just not possible,” Football Federation Australia (FFA) Head of Leagues Greg O’Rourke said in a statement.
The teams had already tried to fly to Canberra on Monday before heading to a “hub” in New South Wales after the NSW border with Victoria was closed. But fog forced the closure of the airport in the Australian capital.
“The lack of clarity, the ad-hoc planning and shifting commitments have left the players embarrassed, frustrated and entirely lacking confidence in the process,” Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) responded.
“Whilst the situation is complex, what the players require is simple: a reliable and feasible plan that does not shift the game’s inability to effectively manage these challenges solely on to players and their families.”
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