A Bournemouth player was one of two people working for Premier League clubs who tested positive for COVID-19 following a second batch of testing, the club said on Sunday.
All of Australia’s major sporting codes are now on hold, after the FFA officially announced it would be suspending the A-League season, effective immediately.
As was expected when last night the FFA scheduled a major announcement for this morning, CEO James Johnson confirmed the A-League has been called to a halt in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was made unanimously by the state and territory member federations and the A-League clubs, with Johnson saying it was restrictions on travel, rather than medical advice about actually playing football, which led to the competition having to be paused.
It is the last of the country’s major sports to be postponed, after the AFL and NRL suspended their seasons on Sunday and Monday respectively.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety of both the football community and the community at large,” Johnson said.
“As each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of both, it is imperative that we follow the lead of Governments at National and State level and take the necessary precautionary and proactive measures and in doing so play our part in preventing the spread and impact of COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our fans, players, volunteers and staff has always been the overriding consideration for us.
“That is fundamentally what led – with the unanimous support of the state and territory member federations – to the suspension of grassroots football until 14 April 2020. Today’s decision was equally difficult to make but it is borne from the same rationale.”
No timeframe has been put on the resumption of the competition, however Johnson said they will reassess on April 22. Likewise, there has been no limit placed on the latest date the A-League season could be concluded after resuming.
The FFA had already stopped last night’s scheduled encounter between Perth Glory and Western United due to the closure of Western Australia’s borders, however Newcastle’s home match against Melbourne City – who were already in NSW having played the Mariners last Friday – went ahead as planned, with the Jets winning 2-1. That game will be the last of any of the country’s elite football codes for quite some time.