December 22 – Australian football has been forced to reshuffle the opening rounds of matches of the new A-League following a Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney, with almost half of the first 35 games to be rescheduled for a later date.
The outbreak, around Sydney’s northern beaches, grew to 90 cases and will prevent interstate matches from being played after other states closed their borders. In response to the developing situation, the A-League shuffled its fixture list in a way that would allow all the clubs based in New South Wales to play each other for the next four weeks. The teams outside New South Wales can play each other without restrictions.
“We’ve mapped out the next month in light of the latest restrictions,” said the head of leagues Greg O’Rourke in a statement. “We gained a significant amount of knowledge from the staging of the 2019/20 season which enabled us to move quickly and respond to these latest changes.”
Out of the first 35 games A-League fixture, 17 of those now have to be confirmed and will be subject to rescheduling in line with government travel and health advice. The new A-League season is due to kick off on December 27.
The grand final between Sydney FC and Melbourne City on December 30 will also have to wait.
“It is unfortunate as it was set to be a remarkable occasion, however we must accept the decision in the best interests of the A-League and Westfield W-League,” said Sydney FC chief executive Danny Townsend. “New South Wales has some coronavirus issues right now, however if we can fulfill fixtures both here and around the country by rescheduling, then we must do what we can to achieve this.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1611421761labto1611421761ofdlr1611421761owedi1611421761sni@o1611421761fni1611421761