A-League to kick off in Melbourne despite COVID-19 spike, confirms O'Rourke


Melbourne's worsening coronavirus crisis will not stop the resumption of the A-League, with competition chief Greg O'Rourke confirming the opening match between Melbourne Victory and Western United at AAMI Park will go ahead as scheduled.

The escalation of COVID-19 cases in the Victorian capital had raised concerns the A-League's plan to restart could be shelved, but competition bosses are determined to push on with Melbourne scheduled to host two matches in the opening round.

O'Rourke told The World Game Victory's clash against Western United on July 16 will remain at AAMI Park, while Melbourne City will play at the same venue four days later on July 20. 

The games will be the only two matches played in Melbourne, with four other clashes set to be played in Victoria now expected to take place in New South Wales as part of the league's hub set-up.

Brisbane Roar will be given one final home game against Adelaide United before entering the NSW hub ahead of their second match on July 28.

Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix will also play all their matches in NSW.

Jubilee Stadium and Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, as well as McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, have been booked by the A-League for the relocated fixtures. 

O'Rourke also revealed there had been no alterations to the schedule for the finals series.

The official draw for the competition restart will be released on Wednesday, but O'Rourke admitted there could be changes if new COVID-19 restrictions are implemented by any state. 

Only 27 games remain in the A-League regular season, which will be played across only 28 days as part of a condensed draw. 

All 11 teams have recommenced training, including Wellington Phoenix who are in the middle of a 14-day quarantine after arriving in Australia last week.