A-League organisers have begun to draw up back-up plans to relocate to Queensland if COVID-19 rates in Sydney make staging it in New South Wales untenable.
NSW recorded more locally acquired cases of COVID-19 than returning travellers for the second straight day on Tuesday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian moving to reintroduce restrictions to quash any potential Melbourne-style surge.
Both the NRL and the AFL have reportedly begun to investigate another evacuarion to continue their seasons after already fleeing Victoria in recent weeks.
For the A-League, which was caught flat-footed in its attempt to move Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United out of Victoria, the situation presents a challenge after planning on completing all but one of their remaining 27 fixtures and finals campaign in rapid-fire fashion in NSW.
But although that remains “Plan A” according to league boss Greg O’Rourke, competition organisers are now taking steps to investigate the possibility of relocating the league's remaining contests to Queensland if the situation in Sydney deteriorates.
“We are now exploring two options,” O’Rourke said this afternoon. “The first option, and our preference, is to locate all the A-League teams in New South Wales.
“We would have Perth here on Thursday as a matter of course, so we would have had nine of the 11 teams here already. We will now bring in, after their next game in Queensland, both Adelaide and Brisbane so then all 11 teams will be based in NSW.
“We’ve been speaking to government today at many levels, many different departments in NSW about the current restrictions and what they feel the impact would be.
"At this point in time, knowing that these things can change quite dramatically, our position is that we would continue to play all our games here.
"We would be able to operate as a workplace and we would continue to do that until we were advised otherwise.
“At this current point in time, our understanding is that that’s all very workable.
“The second option we’re now looking at is to relocate all 11 teams, one of them there already, but the other 10 A-league teams into Queensland.
“We have today spoken to stadia in Queensland, we have today spoken to accommodation options and also around securing training venues for those teams. That is also what we are looking at as our back-up plan.
“Whilst that’s our plan B and – we’re probably up to plan O, P or Q by now in terms of trying to get this league re-started, that would be our opening position.”