Melbourne-based A-League clubs have scrambled to respond following the re-imposition of tough COVID-19 related restrictions across Melbourne.
In response to a growing number of diagnosis of COVID-19 in his state, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday that, from midnight Wednesday, residents in 36 Melbourne suburbs across 10 postcodes would be returning to stage three restrictions until at least July 29.
Those living in the decreed areas will only be able to leave their homes to exercise, go to work, buy essential items including food, and access childcare and healthcare.
As part of the A-League’s return to play protocols, players and staff from the three Melbourne clubs, regardless of their lodgings location, had already been self-enforcing Stage Three restrictions in an effort to return to complete the season – training and preparation considered work under the guidelines.
However, steps by the New South Wales Government to bar travel into the state by residents of Melbourne’s hotspot locations – with penalties of up to six months jail or an $11,000 fine for those that flout the ruling – has cast a shadow over the ability of the three Melbourne clubs to take part in any fixtures in NSW.
Melbourne City has four individuals, three players - including captain Scott Jamieson - and one member of the strength and conditioning department, that reside in the postcodes that were locked down by the Victorian Government, with a club spokesperson confirming to FTBL that all four were moved into temporary accommodation on Wednesday evening before the restrictions came into place.
“I’ve had to move along with two other players and Ralph, our fitness coach," Jamieson said yesterday.
“It’s a bit difficult at the moment for me and my partner because she’s eight months pregnant and we’ve got a lot of stuff ready at our house for the baby.
“I had to go to a hotel and that’s where I’ve been for the past two days, waiting on the NSW government and their decision regarding an exemption for AFL players and the A-League."
Western United, likewise, confirmed that a number of players and staff had been relocated to non-lockdown suburbs.
“We’ve probably been affected quite a bit,” Head Coach Mark Rudan said.