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Friday, January 22, 2021

A-League to kick-off on Friday after schedule shuffle

After months on the sidelines, Football Federation Australia (FFA) today confirmed that the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season will commence this Friday 17 July.

Friday night’s blockbuster between the ladder-leading Sydney FC against third-placed Wellington Phoenix will mark 119 days since the last A-League match was played on 20 March.

FFA had originally scheduled Melbourne Victory to host Western United FC on Thursday 16 July to kick-start the season, but those plans have changed due to the recent COVID spike in Victoria.

FFA’s Head of Leagues, Greg O’Rourke, said they’ve had to shuffle the schedule around due to the three Melbourne teams having to quarantine for 14 days.

“We have faced many challenges over the past week since we released the original match schedule and it will need a few tweaks to reschedule the Melbourne teams, considering their relocation to Sydney,” said O’Rourke.

“Under the conditions of the exemption from the NSW Government, Melbourne City FC, Melbourne Victory and Western United FC will undergo a 14-day quarantine period before being able to re-join the competition, which has meant we have had to update our match schedule accordingly.”

All three of those Victorian clubs arrived in Sydney on Saturday 11 July and are staying in the same hotel during their quarantine period, with each given a separate floor.

The clubs are allowed to train but will not be allowed to play games until 26 July, which explains why the schedule needs to change.

“The final schedule will be released tomorrow (14 July) with no impact to this weekend’s games and minimal changes excepting Melbourne-based teams,” said O’Rourke.

O’Rourke also announced that fans will be able to attend matches in line with government guidelines, much like we have seen in the AFL and NRL in recent weeks with crowds slowly coming back in states outside of Victoria.

The schedule initially released by the A-League attempted to complete the remaining 27 home and away matches in 28 days with finals to follow.

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