NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 23: Steven Ugarkovic of the Newcastle Jets celebrates his goal with teammates during the round 26 A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 23, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 23: Steven Ugarkovic of the Newcastle Jets celebrates his goal with teammates during the round 26 A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 23, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

A-League player tests positive for coronavirus

The fallout from the coronavirus crisis has hit the A-League, with Football Federation Australia confirming a Newcastle Jets player has tested positive for COVID-19.

A member of the Wellington Phoenix coaching staff is also understood to have tested positive for the virus.

The news comes as Professional Footballers Australia threatens legal action against Perth Glory owner Tony Sage, who has stood down the club's playing squad without pay.

It's understood the Jets player is asymptomatic, and only discovered he had coronavirus when tested before attempting to board a plane this week.

The Jets squad is now in self-isolation.

 

A Newcastle Jets player has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images
A Newcastle Jets player has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images

 

"FFA confirms that a Newcastle Jets player has tested positive for COVID-19," a FFA spokesman said.

"In accordance with relevant protocols, NSW Health has been notified of the case by the club.

"The health and wellbeing of the players and officials continue to remain our highest priority in this difficult time and we are working with the league and club to ensure they receive the support they require."

 

The Phoenix squad had been in self-isolation in Sydney preparing to complete season before flying home to New Zealand after Football Federation Australia suspended the 2019-20 campaign last Tuesday.

News Corp Australia have approached both the Jets and the Phoenix for comment.

Before the A-League was suspended, the Jets played last Monday night against Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium, and were also in action the previous Friday night against Brisbane Roar at Cbus Super Stadium.

 

Tony Sage is at loggerheads with the PFA after standing down the entire Perth Glory squad. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough
Tony Sage is at loggerheads with the PFA after standing down the entire Perth Glory squad. Picture: AAP Image/Tony McDonough

 

Meanwhile, in response to Glory owner Sage standing down his squad, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has served him a letter seeking the players' immediate reinstatement.

If the Glory players aren't reinstated, the PFA will take legal action against Sage, which could lead to him being fined more than $600,000 under the Fair Work Act.

"The players acknowledge that everybody in Australia is facing a collective challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," PFA chief executive John Didulica said.

"In times like this, our community needs leadership and, from the perspective of football, a commitment to collaboratively rebuilding our sport.

"The PFA continues to call for a collective solution to address our game's challenges, as has been the approach adopted by the AFL and sporting bodies around the world."

"A fortnight ago, it was fine to relocate players to the east coast away from their families and expose them to a global pandemic. Now, when the opportunity arises, it is considered acceptable to stop paying them. These are not the traits of a sport that values its people.

"We are positioned to take the same course of action if any other A-League club owner elects to take this course of action in contravention of both the law and the sports broader needs at this time."

FFA head of leagues Greg O'Rourke confirmed the Glory had stood down its playing group in response for the remaining period of the A-League's suspension.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that professional football clubs, like all Australian businesses, are facing unprecedented economic challenges," O'Rourke said.

"Each A-League club is therefore working through the specific decisions that have to be made to best preserve its future.

"Until the 22nd of April, all clubs have returned their players to be with their families, and to train individually.

"If and when the season is able to resume all teams will be ready and able to compete."

Originally published as A-League player tests positive for coronavirus


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