Central Coast Mariners fans will have to settle for watching the final few rounds of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season from home, with football the latest victim of the Coronavirus.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) confirmed on March 16 that the remainder of the season and the Westfield W-League grand final scheduled for this coming weekend will go ahead, but with all matches to be played behind closed doors and with no fans permitted to attend.
This policy will apply for the remaining six rounds of the season and will be reviewed for the finals series.
The FFA also confirmed that grassroots football, including all levels of the National Premier Leagues and FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds, may continue to be played at this time, in line with government advice, but with additional measures implemented to further reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection or transmission through the football community, including recommended hygiene measures and appropriate social distancing at football matches.
FFA Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said that the decisions taken were designed to protect the 1.96 million members of Australia’s football community, as well as ensure that football’s vast community would be a positive force in helping Australians remain healthy and combat the spread of the virus.
“The scale of football means that we have a key role to play in maintaining the health and wellbeing of Australians, as well as, their families and the wider community.
“We are doing so by allowing people to play, in line with the current government position but with additional guidance to further improve social distancing at football fields around the country.
“We have been working closely with our stakeholders, government health officials and our own chief medical officer to develop our policies for the whole of the game following the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The situation is subject to constant change, and further measures may be necessary in the future,” he said.
Johnson added: “The decision to play the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season and the Westfield W-League grand final behind closed doors was made in consultation with the clubs and in accordance with the latest Federal Government advice.
“The health and safety of all members of the football community, including players, coaches, referees, volunteers, administrators and fans continues to be of paramount importance.
“We will continue to work with the Government and seek advice as the situation changes.”
The FFA will provide regular updates to the football community regarding COVID-19’s impact on the game as the situation continues to develop.
Media release, Mar 16
Ricardo Piccioni, FFA Media