PFA slams A-League travel fiasco

Victory players and Melbourne's two other A-League teams remain stranded ahead of the season restart
Victory players and Melbourne's two other A-League teams remain stranded ahead of the season restart

The A-League's trio of Victorian teams remains stranded at home as a fuming players' union accuses soccer hierarchy of mismanagement.

Players and staff at Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United are still hopeful of a travel exemption breakthrough on Thursday from the NSW government.

Until granted, they must stay in Victoria and the scheduled July 16 resumption of the A-League remains uncertain.

The three clubs have twice been thwarted from departing, angering the players' body, Professional Footballers Australia.

On Monday night, poor visibility at Canberra Airport prevented a late-night flight to the ACT, with players and staff left on the Tullamarine tarmac.

On Tuesday night, the teams were on buses waiting to enter Melbourne Airport when told they would have to complete a 14-day quarantine and be unable to train for that time on entering the ACT.

"What the players and their families have had to endure over the past 48 hours is unacceptable," the PFA said on Wednesday in a statement.

"The lack of clarity, the ad-hoc planning and shifting commitments have left the players embarrassed, frustrated and entirely lacking confidence in the process.

"Whilst the situation is complex, what the players require is simple: a reliable and feasible plan that does not shift the game's inability to effectively manage these challenges solely onto players and their families.

"Responsibility sits with FFA to present and then execute an achievable resolution that will ensure the completion of the A-League season and does not create further distress for the players."

FFA sought border closure exemptions from the NSW government after the clubs couldn't leave Victoria before the midnight Monday deadline for Melbourne residents.

While confident of a favourable decision, an outcome is yet to be finalised.

"We feel that we have a very good case to gain the exemptions and get the teams to NSW to complete the A-League season and we will make every attempt to do so," A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said late on Tuesday night in a statement.

United are scheduled to play Victory on July 16 and City four days later.

The A-League's precarious situation is not one shared by the AFL, NRL and Super Rugby, who had all moved earlier to get their respective teams out of Victoria amid the state's coronavirus spike.

Australian Associated Press