Australian soccer’s A-League yesterday suspended its season indefinitely, bringing an end to all professional soccer competitions in Australia and New Zealand until the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson announced the decision, saying the latest measures imposed by the federal government made it impossible for the A-League to continue.
The league had only a few regular-season rounds of matches remaining before the playoffs. Johnson said the postponement would be reviewed on April 22.
“As a national competition played in all parts of Australia, as well as New Zealand, mission complicated became mission impossible,” Johnson said.
Newcastle Jets’ 2-1 win over Melbourne City at an empty stadium on Monday was the last game completed.
Sydney led the standings with 48 points after 20 games, eight points ahead of Melbourne City, who have played 23 games. Wellington Phoenix were in third with 36 points from 20 games.
Johnson remained optimistic the season could resume, but said the postponement likely was “heartbreaking” for players, clubs and fans.
All soccer in Australia from community to professional level has now been halted.
“We will feel this,” Johnson said. “We will feel the financial pressure on the game at all levels. The game will survive. Will we need to make changes, be different? I say yes.”
The decision allowed the Wellington Phoenix players and coaching staff to return home before New Zealand went into lockdown.
Players and staff from the New Zealand-based club have spent more than a week in quarantine at a Sydney hotel in a bid to complete the season after each nation imposed a mandatory 14-day isolation period for all arrivals.
Johnson said that he had “no regrets” about the decision to bring the Phoenix to Australia.
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by