A-League to play on three-day turnarounds

The rest of the A-League season will be condensed with games played on three-day turnarounds as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Football Federation Australia says the remainder of the A-League season and this weekend’s W-League grand final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC will proceed as scheduled but played in empty stadiums.

In the A-League, the six remaining rounds before finals will be compressed into three or four weeks in a bid to finish the season.

The Wellington Phoenix will fly to Australia today, spend 14 days in isolation, then play out the remainder of the season from a Sydney base.

Coack Ufuk Talay will have close to a full squad at his disposal for the stay, which will last at least six weeks if the season plays out.

The only uncertainty is over veteran centre back Luke DeVere as the former Socceroo’s wife is due to give birth this month.

Talay said the players had adopted a mentality of seeing their campaign through.

"Players are happy to go and play the games, no issues on that side of things. It’s just a matter of giving them the right information at the right time so they know where they stand."

Phoenix midfielder Ulises Davila has chosen to forgo a visit to his newborn first child in Mexico

The 29-year-old’s wife gave birth to a baby boy late last week and Davila had always intended to return home to be with his family, potentially during a scheduled international break next week.

"He wants to stay, he wants to see the season off and finish in the best way possible," Talay said.

"It was his decision solely. He’s just worried that if he goes and comes back, he loses time in quarantine again.

"He’s very comfortable with his wife being in Mexico because she’s got family over there, he’s got family over there and he’s very comfortable to stay with us at this stage."

The Melbourne Victory, which returned to Australia from New Zealand yesterday, will also have to spend the next two weeks in isolation under government travel orders.

"Those two teams [Victory and Phoenix] will have more of a challenge," FFA’s head of leagues Greg O’Rourke said yesterday.

"But for the other nine teams, we’re looking to have as many games as we can played with three-day turnarounds and have the season completed much quicker than it normally would have been."

The Phoenix and Victory will not be allowed to train during the 14-day isolation period.

O’Rourke said the FFA decided against suspending the A-League.

"We have got 30 matches left, six competition rounds to go, it is our intent to compress the rest of that season," he said.

"We have spoken to the clubs. And we’re now speaking to the venues to see whether or not it’s possible for us to complete those six rounds in three to four weeks.

"We will also have all our games behind closed doors.

"We think, at this point of time, that is a better solution ... rather than suspend it."

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