In light of evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19 both domestically and internationally, Football Federation Australia (FFA) would like to provide fans, players and the broader community with an update in relation to the impact of the pandemic on Australian football, including in particular the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League this weekend.
FFA will continue to place at the highest priority the health and wellbeing of players, fans, officials and the wider football community at all levels of the game. In doing so, will continue to make decisions primarily based upon Federal and State Government direction, supplemented with advice provided by FFA’s Chief Medical Officer and Club doctors.
In relation to the Leagues, FFA can advise that this weekend’s Round 23 matches for the Hyundai A-League and the Semi Finals of the Westfield W-League will all proceed as scheduled. However, in consultation with Clubs, we will have agreed mitigation protocols to be in place for all matches.
FFA, Club CEOs and Head of Leagues are communicating daily regarding COVID-19, both in relation to mitigation planning and response protocols. Further, we are working with other key stakeholders, including Professional Footballers Australia, to ensure a response is commensurate with the Governments’ published position.
At this stage there remains no restrictions around Football events, however we are conscious to ensure a safe working environment for our players, match officials, staff and volunteers. Additionally, we are also working with stadia to optimise sanitation protocols for fans to ensure their safety.
“We are currently taking advice from the Government Authorities and our Chief Medical Officer in relation to managing COVID-19 (Novel coronavirus), and we have also been working with our venues to provide increased levels of hygiene practices and access to all our valued fans and other stakeholders at all matches this weekend.” said FFA Head of Leagues, Greg O’Rourke.
“In collaboration with Clubs and our key stakeholders, we are also ensuring our plans are scalable should the situation escalate further. This may involve playing matches behind closed doors in the future but again this will be based on Government advice.
“We are in discussions regarding Leagues and Clubs non-match day activity, such as community visits, football clinics and players’ and officials’ attendance at events. As with our match day mitigation protocols, we will be prioritising the advice of Government and our medical staff in decision making in this context.
“As always, the health and welfare of our players, officials, volunteers, fans and all stakeholders is a priority for us during this time,” concluded O’Rourke.
FFA is has also established a multi-stakeholder COVID-19 working group to consider the impacts of the virus on other competitions including the FFA Cup, National Premier Leagues and grassroots community football.
The working group will also consider the advice of Federal and State Government health agencies and FFA’s own Chief Medical Officer in order to develop appropriates measures and mitigations across all levels of the game whilst seeking to ensure the continued enjoyment of the game by all Australians.