The A-League will follow other major codes by shutting down the competition on Tuesday morning, according to reports.
The Football Federation Australia (FFA) revealed that CEO James Johnson will make a “significant announcement regarding the conduct of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season” at 10am AEDT on Tuesday morning.
According to multiple reports, that press conference will be used announce the indefinite suspension of the competition.
But, incredibly, one final match went ahead on Monday night – between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City – despite the impending shutdown.
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A-League set to be suspended
According to reports, the FFA, all 11 A-League clubs and the players’ union (PFA) held crisis meetings on Monday afternoon to decide the fate of the competition.
Officials had been hoping to avoid suspending the season, with a bold plan for a NSW-only, condensed schedule floated in an attempt to finish the season as quickly as possible.
But fresh restrictions on insterstate travel – combined with New Zealand’s ban on foreign arrivals – meant continuing the season became untenable.
The decisive factor in the decision was likely New Zealand’s strict travel restrictions on foreign passengers, which could have seen Wellington Phoenix locked out of their home country for months.
The Kiwi club is currently in self-isolation in Sydney, after travelling to Australia following a match against Melbourne Victory on March 15. Victory’s squad is also in self-isolation.
Wellington had previously affirmed a willingness to complete the season away from home, and fellow A-League sides were reportedly open to the idea of joining the four NSW-based sides (as well as Wellington) to finish the season with games played in quick succession.
‘It’s looking ominous’
The A-League on Sunday night postponed Perth Glory’s Monday evening match against Western United.
Western United had delayed their travel to Perth for the game, with the team originally due to fly on Sunday before postponing their flight until Monday to wait on any further developments.
But City remained in NSW following Friday night’s victory over the Central Coast, allowing the side’s Monday match to go ahead.
The game between Western United and Perth Glory will not go ahead.Source: AAP
In a previous statement from FFA chief executive James Johnson, released on Sunday, the CEO said: “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.
“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.”
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