The Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United teams have been stuck in limbo, after their connecting flight to New South Wales was cancelled due to poor visibility.
The teams were instructed by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) to leave their state after the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria within the past two weeks and join the hub in New South Wales where they will be playing their remaining games for the season.
The border between NSW and Victoria was shut yesterday, forcing the FFA to request special entry access from the NSW government for the three teams so that the league can continue.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro stated he will be working with the FFA in order to reach an agreement to allow players into the state:
“If we’ve got an opportunity to do so, let’s bring them across the border … and make sure they’re part of the A-League that kicks off shortly,” said Barilaro.
Meanwhile, Head of the A-League Greg O’ Rourke stated that all efforts are being made to help relocate the clubs. The possibility of postponing some games has not been ruled out.
“We will now begin the process to seek exemptions from the NSW Government to allow the teams to enter NSW for them to continue their season,” O’Rourke pointed out.
“If we find it necessary to revise the match schedule, we will do so accordingly and will announce once confirmed, however, at this time, the schedule remains the same.”
The players of the three clubs that were forced to remain at a nearby hotel voiced their disappointment on social media with Western United star striker Besart Berisha pointing out that he has “never seen this before”.
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Yet his teammate Alessandro Diamanti (who recently renewed his contract with the club for another year) tried to raise morale by pointing out that it didn’t work for them today but they will try again tomorrow.
The two games that were scheduled to take place in Victoria (Melbourne Victory v Western United and Melbourne City v Western United) will be held on the same dates (16 July and 20 July respectively) while the venues have yet to be decided.
The only game of the season that will now be held outside of the NSW hub will be that between the Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United.
CLUBS TURNED BACK ON TUESDAY ONCE AGAIN!
As the players of the three clubs gathered at AAMI Park to attempt to fly out to NSW once again on Tuesday night, their efforts were once again met with disappointment.
More specifically, as the buses prepared to enter the airport parking lot, they were told that they would need to remain in quarantine for 14 days in Canberra if they were to travel, with all three teams making the collective decision to turn back and return home.
The teams will now wait for the FFA to figure out a solution, with O’Rourke defending the efforts made by the Association to get the three teams to NSW through an official statement released late on Tuesday night and expressing his understanding towards the players for all the trouble they’ve been through in the past few days.