Update on COVID-19 impact on football

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today confirmed that the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 regular season, and the Westfield W-League 2020 Grand Final scheduled for this 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 Hyundai A-League 2019/20 regular season and will be reviewed for the Hyundai A-League 2020 Finals Series.

The decision by the Federal Government that all travellers to Australia arriving from today will have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days means that matches involving Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix will not proceed in Rounds 24 and 25 of the Hyundai A-League. These matches will be re-scheduled and Wellington Phoenix will play all their matches in Australia for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season.

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.

Watch a press conference with FFA's update in relation to COVID-19 below - or use the time code below to jump to key talking points:

  • 0.20 - James Johnson's message to the football community
  • 1.28 - About the COVID-19 working committee
  • 3.47 - Football may continue at the moment under strict guidelines. What are they?
  • 6.22 - What do the guidelines mean for the Westfield W-League, the Hyundai A-League, and in particular, Wellington Phoenix?
  • 7.32 - What do the guidelines mean for grassroots football, including National Premier Leagues competitions?
  • 11.43 - 'We are thinking 24/7 to keep our participants safe'
  • 11.59 - Greg O'Rourke explains Wellington Phoenix's situation
  • 13.09 - Did the FFA consider suspending the season? What are the plans for the rest of the season?
  • 14.55 - Other factors involving Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory
  • 17.35 - What happens if someone gets tested positive for COVID-19?
  • 19.50 - Johnson says financial impact is not our highest priority
  • 21.53 - What do Professional Footballers Australia think of the measures?
  • 22.22 - Why did the FFA wait until Monday morning to make their COVID-19 announcement?

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 well-being 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.”

Johnson added “The decision to play the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season, and the Westfield W-League 2020 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 National COVID-19 Working Committee will continue to meet and FFA will provide regular updates to the football community as the situation continues to develop.

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Mat Ryan
Socceroos and Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan