With 83 cases associated with the cluster in Avalon, and 15 new positives announced on Monday, the next few days will dictate the amount of disruption for both competitions.
An official announcement on fixture changes is expected on Tuesday, but those in charge will have some flexibility because most A-League teams are currently in the same state.
‘We are not envisaging people having to do another two weeks of hotel quarantine if they’re coming out of hotel quarantine.’
Five of the 12 clubs are permanently based in NSW and a sixth, Wellington Phoenix, has set up camp in Wollongong and will play home games at WIN Stadium. It gives A-League administrators the option of having those six clubs play against each other for the initial period of the season, while the three Victorian sides, Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory can travel to and from their respective states without restriction.
Victory’s A-League team, meanwhile, is due to finish its 14 days of hotel quarantine on Tuesday after arriving back from Qatar, where they spent several weeks in a strict hub environment for the AFC Champions League.
Victory’s flight landed in Sydney and coach Grant Brebner and his players have been observing their self-isolation period in Norwest – in the same hotel that rivals Sydney FC were released from on Saturday – after weeks of living under rigorous protocols and submitting to regular COVID-19 testing in Doha.
Fears they would have to do another fortnight cooped up in Melbourne – separating them from their families over Christmas – have been allayed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“We are not envisaging people having to do another two weeks of hotel quarantine if they’re coming out of hotel quarantine,” Andrews said on Monday.
That means Victory’s opening match against Roar at AAMI Park on January 2 should be unaffected, but any A-League or W-League game involving travel into or out of NSW is likely to be in peril.
Both seasons have to be completed by the end of June, when the current broadcast deal with Fox Sports is due to expire, but club officials believe they can successfully negotiate the latest curveball thrown at them by the pandemic.
There is still a high degree of confidence that the long-awaited legal independence of the A-League and W-League from Football Australia will be completed before the seasons begin, too.