17 Mar 2020

Phoenix delay move to Australia

10:38 am on 17 March 2020

The Wellington Phoenix participation in football's A-League is up in the air after the club delayed travelling to Australia.

The Phoenix celebrate a goal.

Phoenix players celebrate Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Phoenix were supposed to fly out today but they've decided to stay in Wellington for at least another day.

Chief executive David Dome says the team will travel to Sydney tomorrow, but only if they get assurances that they can train while they're in self-isolation.

The team are planning to be based in Sydney for the rest of the season, but have still to confirm accomodation details.

The New Zealand and Australian governments have confirmed that travellers entering either country must self-isolate for 14 days due to fears over the coronavirus.

Yesterday Football Federation Australia confirmed that the Phoenix would play the rest of their A-League season in Australia.

Dome had previoulsy said it would be impossible for them to continue to play in Wellington.

The FFA also confirmed that the A-League will continue with games played in empty stadiums.

"This is an unprecedented time and extremely complex for the sport and society at large," FFA chief executive James Johnson said.

The FFA said the Phoenix's two games this week against Sydney and Newcastle would be rescheduled.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay had said it would make sense for the FFA to suspend the A-league for a period.

"I believe it needs a break to let this settle down ...and I think everyone knows what they need to do moving forward," he said.

"I just think common sense should prevail. The first thing to the forefront should be player safety.

"We don't have the final decision and if the league decide that the games have to be played and we need to be over in Australia to play then that means we need to go."

Star player Ulises Davila had decided to stay with the side despite the recent birth of his first child in Mexico, while there could be a question mark over former Socceroos defender Luke DeVere, whose wife is due to give birth within the next two weeks.