SYDNEY (Reuters) - Football Federation Australia wants to resume the 2019-2020 A-League season towards the end of July and complete it before the end of August, Adelaide United’s director of football Bruce Djite said on Wednesday.
The A-League was brought to a halt in March because of the coronavirus outbreak with five rounds of the regular season and the championship playoffs left to play.
“My understanding is they want the season completed by the end of August,” Djite told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
“So mathematically, three games a week and all the rest you could knock it out in four or five weeks. Then you work back from that and say you need at least four, five weeks training, so you’re looking at late June, early July.
“But there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before that ... There’s still a lot of unknowns.”
With the players laid off and mostly surviving on the government’s JobKeeper coronavirus wage subsidy programme, Djite said the FFA would need to sit down with their union to “nut out” details on pay before any training resumed.
“The boys aren’t coming back to train on JobKeeper,” he said.
“Those discussions have to be had as a matter of urgency, so there’s clarity from players’ mindset and there’s clarity for clubs in financial management of what the cost is going to be.
“Because at the moment there’s no revenues and we don’t know what the cost base looks like to finish off the season.”
Social distancing measures have managed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia to only a trickle of new cases each day and restrictions look set to be eased nationwide over the next week or two.
Some will remain, however, and one proposal being considered to complete the A-League season is gathering the teams into a central hub in Sydney and playing all the remaining matches behind closed doors there.
“As a club we are happy to do that, and the players are happy to do that, we just want to finish the season,” said Djite.
“People are more comfortable now with jumping on a plane to New South Wales.”
Adelaide United will need a new manager before any action resumes after Gertjan Verbeek headed back home to the Netherlands in April before resigning last week.
The club’s last four managers have been Europeans but Djite said they would be looking closer to home for Verbeek’s replacement.
“We want an Australian coach for next season,” he said.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford