Phoenix not cleared but book Sydney flight


Wellington Phoenix are so confident they'll be cleared to enter Australia, they've booked a flight to Sydney on Saturday without having received a travel exemption.

Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison conceded there were "a couple of little ticks" the A-League club still needs before its players and staff can pass through Australian borders but it had chosen to front-foot the situation.

Morrison had been in close contact with A-League boss Greg O'Rourke and indicated most of the clearance process with NSW government departments and the border force had been completed.

With the club anxious to begin their 14-day quarantine process ahead of the July 16 competition resumption, it had chosen not to await the official Australian green light, which would have delayed flight bookings further.

Wellington are anxious to travel as soon as possible, with their playing squad effectively separated into four groups during Sydney quarantine.

The bulk of the squad will arrive from Wellington but six of the players are presently at their Australian homes. Two others - English striker Gary Hooper and Mexican playmaker Ulises Davila - will have to self isolate away from their teammates.

Hooper and Davila have both begun travelling from their home nations and are scheduled to be in Sydney by the end of the week.

"It's taken a lot of work, getting all the various approvals in place," Morrison told the Phoenix City podcast.

"It's taken an effort. Everyone's been really cautious, there's a lot of hoops to get through. Greg O'Rourke has done a power of work in the last few days to get this through.

"There's just a couple of little ticks that we need and once that's all done we'll be on the plane on Saturday."

The Phoenix will effectively mirror the quarantine process the Warriors achieved in the NRL.

Coach Ufuk Talay and his players began undergoing the process in March when the A-League tried to play on during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The quarantine was aborted and they returned home when the competition was suspended.

The third-placed Phoenix are scheduled to return to action on July 17 against league leaders Sydney FC.

Source AAP