Sporting fixtures thrown into chaos again

Queensland’s tough new coronavirus protocols have given the AFL an almighty migraine, but rugby union, NRL, soccer, netball, and cricket are among the other sports in Australia also set to suffer a fixture headache.

The AFL’s fixture was thrown into chaos on Monday after Queensland health officials issued new directives that force sporting teams based in the state into a 14-day quarantine should they play a Melbourne-based club.

Queensland-based clubs would also be forced into quarantine if they either played in Melbourne, or came up against any team that had been in Melbourne in the preceding 14 days.

That stance has huge ramifications for the AFL given that there are 10 teams based in Victoria.

Six AFL clubs have already been impacted by a round-five fixture reshuffle, and league boss Gillon McLachlan has warned of more changes to come.

The AFL’s worst nightmare would be for Western Australia to further strengthen its coronavirus protocols.

The WA Government has granted permission for Victorian clubs Geelong and Collingwood to arrive in Perth next month for a three-week hub.

The Magpies and Cats will be forced into hotel quarantine for 14 days, but the WA Government will allow them to train during that period as well as play each other.

If the WA Government hardens its stance in the wake of the coronavirus spike in Victoria, the AFL will be forced into another fixture scramble.

The NRL is in a far better position given it has only one club based in Victoria – the Melbourne Storm.

The Storm are now resigned to the fact that they will have to stay in their new Sunshine Coast hub until at least August, and probably longer.

The new directive from the Queensland government won’t affect the Storm immediately, meaning their clash with the Roosters on Thursday night is set to go ahead, despite it coming just eight days after the Storm left Victoria.

That match was originally scheduled for AAMI Park in Melbourne, but will now likely be played at the Storm’s adopted home ground of Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

The Melbourne Rebels have announced that they will move their round-two Super Rugby home clash with the Queensland Reds on July 10 to NSW.

The Rebels relocated to Canberra last Friday following a spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, and they will face the Brumbies this Saturday.

By the time they face the Reds on July 10, they will have been outside of Victoria for 14 days.

That means the Reds won’t need to quarantine for 14 days when they return to Queensland.

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke has confirmed that the worsening coronavirus situation in Victoria won’t stop the soccer season relaunching on July 16 with a clash between Melbourne Victory and Western United at AAMI Park.

Melbourne City will take on Western United at the same venue four days later, but all other matches scheduled for Victoria are set to take place in the NSW hub.

Australia’s netball competition is still planning to begin on August 1, and their current fixture planning has now been made harder.

There are also doubts about the jewel in Australia’s summer sporting calendar – the Boxing Day Test.

The clash between Australia and India could be moved to Perth’s Optus Stadium if Victoria hasn’t been able to control the current coronavirus outbreak by then.

From July 18, WA will have no restrictions on crowd numbers, meaning up to 55,000 fans can attend the Test match each day.

The WA Government is also pushing to host the AFL grand final if Victoria still has crowd restrictions in place by then.





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