AAP Soccer

A-League clubs set for Saturday Vic exit

By AAP Newswire

Victoria's A-League clubs are set to depart coronavirus-hit Melbourne on Saturday morning, as the competition works on a revised schedule for the season restart.

After two aborted attempts to leave the state earlier this week, the FFA received exemptions from the NSW government for Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United to travel to Sydney.

The three teams will meet at AAMI Park then fly to Sydney together on Saturday morning but all travellers must return a negative COVID-19 test before they can depart.

Regular testing has been ongoing at all A-League clubs and with Western United's most recent swabs cleared on Friday, the three teams are now free to travel.

Approximately 120 players and staff from the three clubs will head to NSW, where they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period - during which they can train - before they can participate in matches.

Victory chief executive Trent Jacobs had earlier confirmed plans to fly to Sydney on Saturday.

Players and staff from all three clubs previously endured two failed attempts to depart Victoria on Monday and Tuesday.

"The events of Monday and Tuesday night have been incredibly frustrating and compromised our players and staff," Jacobs said on Friday.

"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our players, coaches, staff and all their families for the exceptional way in which they've handled the challenges and unknowns of this extremely stressful week.

"While our club was disappointed with what transpired, we have remained focused on working together with FFA and the Victorian clubs to find a solution."

With less than a week to go before the planned season restart, Thursday's match between Victory and Western United will have to be rearranged due to neither team being able to play a match during the quarantine period.

That could mean Friday's match between leaders Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Jubilee Stadium will be the first fixture to be played since the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least two other early games face rescheduling - Western United's clash with City on July 20 and Western Sydney's game against Victory on July 22.

United sit sixth with six games remaining and face a jam-packed schedule, while 10th-placed Victory have five matches to go. Second-placed City have just three regular-season games left.

With a competition window that can be extended until August 30, FFA's head of leagues Greg O'Rourke remains confident the remaining 27 regular season fixtures and finals can still be accommodated despite the quarantine period.

He also dismissed media reports that FFA planned to have up to four players sharing accommodation at Narrabeen's Sports Academy during quarantine, confirming the facility was no longer part of isolation planning.