AFL

Crowd ban for all Australian sport despite FFA’s hopes for ‘business as usual’

This weekend’s A-League and W-League games were set to go ahead with crowds despite concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Brisbane will host Central Coast Mariners on Friday night, kicking off five A-League matches this weekend, while there will also be two W-League semi-finals.

The decision came less than two hours after Football Federation Australia said they had opted to go ahead with A-League and W-League games based on government advice and they would not be held behind closed doors.

However just minutes after the FFA released their decision, the state and federal governments were revealed set to ban any gatherings of more than 500 people.

Prime Minsiter Scott Morrison said the ban was being brought in as a part of their scalable abundance of caution but he would still be going to the NRL on Saturday to see Cronulla Sharks.

He added: “It might be the last game I get to go to for a long time.

“This step we are taking today and implementing on Monday is about about a scalable precautionary response. This will continue to scale up in the many months ahead of us.”

Fears about the spread of the virus today saw the Australian F1 Grand Prix abandoned in Melbourne and have caused the suspension of the NBA, NHL and MLS in the US.

Today’s one day international cricket match between Australia and New Zealand is currently being played behind closed doors at the SCG.

The AFL are reportedly considering playing behind closed doors and may even delay the start of the season until after Easter.

The NRL have so far pledged to play as normal during their opening round this weekend, but will also likely change tack following the Government’s announcement.

The PM added: “We run many things at this table at the moment. The NRL and AFL aren’t one of them. We’ll leave them to manage the issues. We’ll set ground rules about how events can be run in the future.”

More to follow…

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