July 29, 2020 / 7:11 AM / 9 days ago

Border closure poses another headache for Australian leagues

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s professional sports leagues face another challenge to complete their seasons after authorities in Queensland said they would shut the state’s border to arrivals from Sydney amid growing clusters of COVID-19 across the city.

Home to over a dozen teams in top flight rugby league, soccer, Australian Rules football and rugby union, Sydney has also been hosting a slew of professional sides from other Australian states camped in biosecure hubs.

Queensland had already banned travellers from COVID-19 “hotspots” in several suburbs of Sydney but on Wednesday state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the entire city of 5 million would be shut out from 1 a.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Sunday.

National Rugby League (NRL) teams in Sydney were given special dispensation to travel to and from Queensland when the competition resumed in late-May, and NRL boss Peter V’landys said the league was seeking advice as to whether the policy had changed.

“Logically, I can’t see how that would change with Sydney just being locked out,” he told Australian Associated Press.

“We still have the same rigorous protocols.

“We’ve got an exemption unless they withdraw the exemption. And there is no reason to take it back.”

Sydney’s two professional Aussie Rules teams, Greater Western Sydney Giants and Sydney Swans, have brought forward plans to leave New South Wales (NSW) state, of which Sydney is the capital.

They will leave NSW earlier to arrive in Queensland for matches this weekend and will then head straight to Western Australia state for further matches rather than head home.

Swans coach John Longmire said it was possible his team would not play again in Sydney this year.

“Anything is possible in this environment,” Longmire told reporters.

“You have to roll with the punches a bit.”

The top flight A-League soccer competition may also be affected, with Queensland-based Brisbane Roar playing in Sydney twice in the next two weeks.

Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below