COURTESY RELAY: FFA Media Release
Tuesday, 24 March 2020
Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced that it has postponed the final rounds of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season. This postponement is effective immediately.
The decision is the latest in a series of measures introduced by FFA in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and comes with the unanimous support of all Hyundai A-League clubs. FFA will review the situation over the coming weeks with a further formal status assessment now scheduled for April 22nd.
The goal at this stage is to reschedule games as soon as it is reasonably possible to do so in order to complete the season. The clubs and players have indicated to FFA that they will be ready to continue should the competition be able to resume.
The decision reflects the stringent social distancing measures that have now been introduced by Government, the introduction of State border restrictions within Australia and the implementation of the highest levels of border restrictions for New Zealand. The accumulative effect making the continuation of the competition impossible at the present time.
FFA CEO James Johnson said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety of both the football community and the community at large. As each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of both, it is imperative that we follow the lead of Governments at National and State level and take the necessary precautionary and proactive measures and in doing so play our part in preventing the spread and impact of COVID-19.”
“To get so close to completing the competition, only to pull up a few weeks short, has been heartbreaking for the players, clubs and fans. That said, the health and safety of our fans, players, volunteers and staff has always been the overriding consideration for us. That is fundamentally what led – with the unanimous support of the State and Territory Member Federations – to the suspension of grassroots football until 14 April 2020. Today’s decision was equally difficult to make but it is borne form the same rationale.
“As the largest club-based participation sport with nearly two million participants, we have a clear and obvious duty to play our part in doing whatever we can to support the efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“On behalf of FFA Board and each Hyundai A-League Club, we thank the players for their assistance during these extraordinary times. We have done everything in our power to ensure the physical and mental welfare of the players and club staff and this decision means that, like the majority of Australians, they can now return home to be with their families during this difficult time.”
“We’d like to thank our members, sponsors, volunteers and fans for their continued support during this unprecedented time.”
FFA asks that all football fans, players, coaches, and officials continue to abide by the measures put in place by the Federal and State Governments and follow all precautionary protocols.
FFA will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the National COVID-19 Working Committee and provide updates as they become available.