Football Federation Australia will not change its stance on allowing Australia’s professional leagues to resume, despite suspending all grassroots competitions.
All football competitions under the FFA umbrella will be suspended as of midnight 18 March 2020 until 14 April 2020 – including NPL, state leagues, miniroos and futsal competitions – while the remaining A-League fixtures and W-League Grand Final will go ahead as planned.
The decision comes a day after FFA gave the all clear for these competitions to continue – recommending only ‘’essential people’’ be in attendance – with CEO James Johnson pointing to medical advice received from the Chief Medical Officer and growing fears among stakeholders at grassroots level.
“The medical advice that we are getting from the government at the moment is that the risk of spread in football match when players are playing, this isn’t my opinion this advice is from the CMO, the risk of spreading on a pitch is still minimal,’’ Johnson said.
‘’The real problem, medically, is when people are standing in a static way in large groups which is what concerns us when it comes to large groups.
‘’I think we need to look at [grassroots and professional leagues] in different ways and this isn’t suggesting we change our views on the professional game.n
‘’We have to be responsive and continue to be due to the evolution of the virus. We have to look at the game diff based on sheer size and scale, 1.9 million play every weekend. This scale creates more opportunity for disease to spread.’’
Postponing the re-start of these suspended competitions post 14 April also remains a possibility.
Moreover, Johnson says FFA has not revised its position in relation to the professional leagues should a player be diagnosed with COVID-19.
“[The position has not changed] since yesterday but is an issue we’re working with the A-League on at the moment. Our position on the professional game has not been revised,” Johnson said.
The remaining six rounds of the A-League and this weekend’s W-League Grand Final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC will be played behind closed doors.
Featured Image – Football Victoria