Victorian A-League clubs can expect at least 25 percent of their floor space to be allowed in at the start of the new season in late December, which means Melbourne Victory will likely need to introduce fan quotas for fans who play in the AAMI Park want to participate.
The FFA announced the draw for the new season on Tuesday. Depending on the application of the COVID-safe protocols by the individual state governments, different capacity regulations and crowd restrictions apply to the clubs in each state.
Melbourne Victory, which regularly has more than 20. 000 members per season is expected to be the Victorian club hardest hit by stadium restrictions. Photo credit: Scott McNaughton
There are also a number of games for which the venues cannot be confirmed yet, mainly in Victoria as the AFL’s control of sites like the GMHBA Stadium and Marvel Stadium has made it difficult for football officials to watch the game fully programmed as calls. Availability over ground continues.
Western United is hardest hit as the GMHBA Stadium in Geelong is their nominal home. With the A-League starting later this season, the venue will be out of bounds for much longer than it was during Western’s debut campaign last year, with the exception of AFL club Geelong Cats.
Last week, Western started a war of words with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City over their desire to temporarily share AAMI Park with their two Victorian rivals, both of whom are against the plan. The FFA expects this issue to be addressed in the next week.
The capacity of AAMI Park is a little over 30. 000, so Victory, which is usually well over 20. Has 000 members who will have to ration attendance, even if restrictions are eased next month and a crowd of 50 percent is allowed in Victoria is the case in other states. The club has been asked to comment.
It’s probably not a big problem for Melbourne City or Westerns – should they be allowed to use AAMI Park – as their membership numbers are much lower, as are their average goals.
The league has no plans to bubble players – as it did when it restarted this July – although officials are concerned that uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic could mean all bets will be closed at any time. There are contingency plans in place should stricter restrictions be imposed.
Players can live their lives as « normally » as possible but must be risk averse and follow all COVID-19 protocols in place in their state, as well as protocols established by their clubs and the governing body.
With the start of the new club Macarthur – they play in the opening game against Western Sydney Wanderers on 27. December – there are now 12 clubs in the league.
Each team plays 26 games: each other club twice, a handful of others three times.
Victory’s two home derbies against City will take place at Marvel Stadium, while City Victory will be entertained at AAMI Park.
Western United has eight games left labeled « TBC ». . Two of them are home games against Victory, one each against City, Perth Glory, Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers, Macarthur and the Central Coast Mariners.
City open their campaign with a grand replay of the final against Sydney FC in Sydney, where they hope to avenge their 1-0 extra time in the grand final last August.
The W-League will start at the same time as the A-League, also with a great replay between Melbourne City and Sydney (in that competition City were the winners), and it will kick off December 30 games between the respective men’s teams.
Westerns are the only Victorian team to play at home in the first round when they take on Adelaide United on Monday 28th. December, entertains in the GMHBA stadium.
Victory will be on 26. Play his traditional game on Australia Day against Sydney at AAMI Park on January 1st. At 6. March 17th. April, derby clashes against City take place. The date has to be confirmed on the second weekend in May at the Marvel Stadium.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief football reporter and also covers motorsport and horse racing
A-League, Melbourne Victory FC, Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Brisbane Roar FC, Australian Football League, Adelaide United Football Club, Melbourne City FC
World news – AU – Fan ratings likely that crowd victory will be limited when the A-League resumes
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