The A-League has become the latest sporting code to announce that matches for the foreseeable future will be played behind closed doors, while the W-League grand final this weekend will also be played in an empty stadium.
The decision comes as the ongoing coronavirus crisis continues to impact world sport, with the Australian government enforcing mandatory 14-day self-isolation periods for people arriving in the country and banning public gatherings of 500 people or more.
“The decision to play the remainder of the A-League 2019-20 season and the W-League 2020 grand final behind closed doors was made in consultation with the clubs and in accordance with the latest Federal Government advice,” Football Federation Australia CEO James Johnson said in a statement.
“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. We will continue to work with the Government and seek advice as the situation changes.”
With six rounds of the A-League still to go, the FFA are looking into finishing the regular season on a shortened timeline, with frequent three-day turnarounds to have the remaining 30 games played in the next three or four weeks.
The Federal Government’s recent travel advice will make that tricky for Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix. Both clubs faced off in New Zealand this past weekend, and as such everyone who made the trip will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon arriving back in Australia. Their matches for the next two weeks will be postponed.
The Phoenix, set to depart New Zealand tomorrow, will spend the remainder of the season in Australia. They’re likely to be based in Sydney, with the FFA still working through venue and hotel availability for the team.