Football chiefs wait on government to force shutdown

Football Federation Australia has put a decision on whether to keep playing the A-League on ice for 24 hours, after the AFL broke ranks and suspended its season.

In contrast to the bullish tone used by the NRL in declaring it would keep going, FFA says it will "continue to assess" the rapidly changing landscape, and provide a fresh update on Monday.

 

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With the national cabinet meeting late on Sunday, and various states moving to a state of lockdown within 48 hours, it seems increasingly likely that the national football codes will be forced to stop playing.

The A-League had played two games behind closed doors on Friday and Saturday - including the Sydney derby - as it put together a truncated fixture list to try to complete the season, while the W-League was able to hold its grand final.

 

Two more A-League games are due to be played on Monday, pending any change of direction over the suitability of football continuing to play.

Players have been under effective quarantine in their own homes and at training grounds but interstate travel is inevitable, raising major questions over whether the movement can be justified in an escalating national crisis.

FFA CEO James Johnson insists the organisation will put player safety first.
FFA CEO James Johnson insists the organisation will put player safety first.

 

"The health and wellbeing of the players continues to remain our top priority and we will not be afraid to make decisions to ensure this, no matter how hard they might be," said FFA CEO James Johnson in a statement.

"We were very comfortable to take the initial decision to allow the Leagues to continue with additional measures in place and have worked through a number of scenarios to facilitate the completion of the A-League season.

"However, we remain under no illusions as to how fluid this situation is so we will remain agile and responsive to the challenges this pandemic brings.

"We are continuously assessing our position based on the latest directives and advice from the Government and Chief Medical Officer, and in consultation with our National COVID-19 Working Committee.

"We are taking every precaution in line with Government advice and working closely with the league and clubs which have implemented additional measures to ensure players remain healthy and in good physical and mental condition.

"Our priority is to ensure that this remains the case to give the clubs and players the best chance of achieving their sporting aspirations."

Originally published as Football chiefs wait on government to force shutdown


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