A-League revising fixtures as Victoria clubs eye Saturday exit


As Victoria's A-League clubs prepare to depart coronavirus-hit Melbourne on Saturday, the competition is working on a revised schedule for the season restart.

After two aborted attempts to leave the state earlier this week, the FFA received exemptions from the NSW government for Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United to travel to Sydney.

Approximately 120 players and staff from the three clubs will head to NSW, where they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period - during which they can train - before they can participate in matches.

Victory chief executive Trent Jacobs confirmed the teams would fly to Sydney on Saturday, pending all players returning negative COVID-19 test results.

Players and staff from all three clubs previously endured two failed attempts to depart Victoria on Monday and Tuesday.

"In particular, the events of Monday and Tuesday night have been incredibly frustrating and compromised our players and staff," Jacobs said on Friday.

"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our players, coaches, staff and all their families for the exceptional way in which they've handled the challenges and unknowns of this extremely stressful week.

"While our club was disappointed with what transpired, we have remained focused on working together with FFA and the Victorian clubs to find a solution."

All travellers will need to have tested negative for COVID-19 before flying.

Regular testing has been ongoing at all A-League clubs and when Western United's most recent swabs are cleared, the teams will be free to travel.

With less than a week to go before the planned season restart, July 16's match between Victory and Western United will have to be rearranged due to neither team being able to play a match during the quarantine period.

That could mean the July 17 match between leaders Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Jubilee Stadium will be the first fixture to be played since the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least two other early games face rescheduling - Western United's clash with City on July 20 and Western Sydney's game against Victory on July 22.

United sit sixth with six games remaining and face a jam-packed schedule, while 10th-placed Victory have five matches to go. Second-placed City have just three regular-season games left.

Revisions to the schedule are dependent on when the three teams arrive in NSW.

With a competition window that can be extended until August 30, head of leagues Greg O'Rourke remains confident the remaining 27 regular season fixtures and finals can still be accommodated despite the quarantine period.

He also dismissed media reports that FFA planned to have up to four players sharing accommodation at Narrabeen's Sports Academy during quarantine, confirming the facility was no longer part of isolation planning.

Source AAP