The A-League finals – and VAR - are coming to Bankwest Stadium, with the FFA confirming Western Sydney will host every game of 2020's finals series with the controversial technology resurrected.
With Melbourne City and Western United's Wednesday evening clash ending the 2019/20 regular season, FFA Head of Leagues Greg O’Rourke tonight confirmed the competition’s elimination finals, semi-finals and grand final would all be staged at the home of the Wanderers.
While fans won’t be in attendance for the elimination finals scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, a limited crowd will be welcomed for a semi-final doubleheader on Wednesday, August 26 and the Grand Final on Sunday, August 30.
“We have witnessed some amazing football since the restart of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season with some 27 matches played in 34 days,” said O’Rourke.
“Under the current circumstances, we have made the decision to remain in NSW for the A-League 2020 Finals Series and have selected Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta to host all matches.
“A limited number of fans will be able to attend the A-League 2020 Grand Final (30 August) as well as the Hyundai A-League 2020 Semi-Finals, double-header matches (Wednesday 26 August).”
The set location for the finals series, however, means the return of a familiar bedfellow also looms.
“In addition,” O’Rourke said, “we will also be re-introducing the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) during all matches of the A-League 2020 Finals Series.”
Though it didn’t have the most auspicious of starts – Melbourne Victory, City and United’s enforced 14-day quarantine forcing the original schedule to be re-jigged – the A-League’s NSW-hub-based resumption has generally proceeded without a hitch since it first resumed on July 17.
Infection control protocols put in place ensured that no player, coach or staff member attached to an A-League club has contracted COVID-19 during the month’s action, with a positive case in the crowd of Newcastle Jets win over Western the only scare the league has experienced.
A win over City on Wednesday would move Western into third place on the table heading into the finals and set up a meeting with six placed Perth Glory. A draw or a loss, conversely, would set up a fourth vs third meeting between the expansion side and Brisbane Roar, while Glory took on Wellington Phoenix.
Sydney will then meet the lowest rank side that emerges from those contests in one semifinal, while City awaits the highest-ranked winner.
A-LEAGUE FINALS SCHEDULE (All matches at Bankwest Stadium)
* Elimination finals
Saturday, Aug 22 - Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory/Brisbane Roar, 5pm
Sunday, Aug 23 - Western United v Perth Glory/Brisbane Roar, 6pm
Wednesday, Aug 26 - Melbourne City v highest-ranked elimination final winner, 5pm
Wednesday, Aug 26 - Sydney FC v lowest-ranked elimination final winner, 8.10pm
* Grand final
Sunday, Aug 30 - Winner semi-final 1 v winner semi-final 2, 6.30pm