Published: Tue, March 24, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

League season suspended due to coronavirus pandemic, joins AFL, NRL

League season suspended due to coronavirus pandemic, joins AFL, NRL

At the MCG less than two weeks ago, more than 86,000 people gathered to watch Australia beat India in the women's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final.

The AFL previously had said it would play on in empty stadiums amid the pandemic, with a shortened season and shortened games, but the league was able to finish only its first round of games before shutting things down.

Johnson said the FFA board and A-League clubs were unanimous in making a "very tough and hard decision"' after consulting with a national working committee comprising member federations and the Professional Footballers Australia.

Just five rounds of the regular A-League schedule, plus finals, were left to be played in the 2019-20 season.

"As a national competition, a competition that's played in nearly all parts of Australia and also played in New Zealand, mission complicated became mission impossible", said Johnson.

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Monday night's game between Newcastle and Melbourne City, won 1-0 by the Jets, proved to be the last for the timebeing, despite FFA's hopes of playing out a condensed version of the season.

But FFA chief executive James Johnson confirmed the A-League will be coming to a temporary halt, Australia's last active sporting competition also succumbing to the Covid-19 pandemic. "It is unprecedented in the impact it is having on our game and the wider community, and as a community and as a code, we all need to take the unprecedented and required actions to get through this together". The game will survive.

The decision allowed Wellington players and coaching staff, who had spent more than a week in quarantine at a Sydney hotel in a bid to complete the season, to return to New Zealand before the country goes into a complete lockdown.

Johnson said he had "no regrets" about the decision to bring the Phoenix club to Australia.

Sports-mad Australia has now suspended all of its major sports competitions, with Australian Rules football, the National Rugby League and Super Rugby all calling off their seasons in recent days. In each case government restrictions on national and worldwide travel, on public gatherings and non-essential activities made continuing untenable.

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