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Little chance of A-League kickoff before June: FFA

Soccer

Australia’s soccer hierarchy concede there’s scant chance of the A-League resuming before June.

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Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials will meet again next month to discuss the return of the league, which has been suspended since March 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FFA say they’re committed to resuming the competition, which has five rounds remaining before finals, as soon as possible.

But they concede there’s little hope of that happening before June.

“We will resume play as soon as possible,” FFA chief executive James Johnson said in a statement on Thursday.

“The first stage would see the players return to training. We would then schedule matches.

“It is difficult to see that process beginning before the end of May but we will work with all stakeholders to achieve the earliest possible resumption.

“Ultimately, the coronavirus will have the final say on when we can get the season started again, and completed.”

FFA hierarchy met on Wednesday to discuss the short-term future of the league. They resolved to meet again next month.

Wednesday’s meeting set key criteria that must be met for the league to resume, including the “sustainable provision” of health and safety thresholds for players and staff.

Travel restrictions between Australia’s states would also need to be lifted for the league to continue.

Governments would also have to permit large gatherings again, allowing for squads and staff to congregate.

And governments would also have to allow the staging of games amid social distancing protocols.

Most A-League clubs have stood down players and the majority of staff amid the suspension of competition.

“Our priority remains the health and safety of all players and staff and we will need to be satisfied that appropriate measures are in place to ensure this,” Johnson said.

“Secondly, we will need to meet all government restrictions in place at the time, including state/territory border controls.

“Finally, any decision to resume will be made in full alignment with government and its medical advisors.”

-AAP

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