Six Melbourne City players have tested positive to Covid-19, while Melbourne Victory squad members have been deemed as close contacts, putting the A-League further on edge and forcing the postponement of two FFA Cup games.
City’s quarter-final with Wellington Phoenix at Casey Fields, and the Victory’s round-of-16 clash with the Gold Coast Knights in Queensland – both scheduled for Wednesday night – have been postponed.
The A-League match between City and Brisbane Roar that was supposed to be played on Monday night at Moreton Daily Stadium on Monday night has also been shelved.
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The Roar’s FFA Cup quarter-final against Sydney FC, that was also scheduled for Wednesday night, was also postponed due to an “unrelated” Covid matter that led to “complications” with the Roar’s scheduled charter flight to NSW.
The six City players, all of whom are double vaccinated, are in isolation and “feeling well”, according to an A-League statement.
Victory players were considered close contacts after playing against City in last Saturday’s night’s 2-2 derby draw at AAMI Park.
The Phoenix released a statement saying there were “no confirmed positive cases in the Wellington Phoenix camp and none of our players or staff are currently regarded as close and/or casual contacts.”
The Victory had been due to fly to Queensland on Tuesday but having been made aware of a “potential exposure” delayed the trip, fearing a quarantine spell in Queensland similar to that served by Perth Glory players and staff.
In better news for the Glory, the players and won’t have to spend Christmas in a Brisbane hotel room after being granted permission to return to Perth via a charter plate on Thursday to complete their 14-day isolation period at home.
Players and staff has been stuck in quarantine following last week’s news that a player tested positive to the virus in Queensland
Glory CEO Tony Pignata said: “We have worked very closely with Queensland Health, WA Health and WA Police to secure this outcome, and I would like to register the club’s sincere appreciation of their efforts.
“The health and wellbeing of our players and staff has been the top priority throughout and we are extremely pleased that they will now be able to complete their quarantine at home in Perth.
“I would also like to thank the players and staff for the resilience they have shown under extremely difficult circumstances and our members and fans for the fantastic support they have provided throughout this period.”
The Glory have had four of their matches – against Brisbane Roar (last Saturday), Adelaide United (Thursday night), Sydney FC (January 2) and Macarthur FC (January 5) – postponed.
Western United is also understood to have had three players hit with the virus, while two Newcastle Jets men’s squad members and one the club’s female players tested positive last week.
The Jets’ A-League match against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium will be played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Newcastle region.
Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant tested positive to the virus earlier this month but has finished his home isolation period.