The A-Leagues’ big risk as they try to play on despite COVID-19

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The A-Leagues is about to look a whole lot different as it moves to achieve a world where COVID-19 and football matches can co-exist.

The year is 2022, and we still live in a world where COVID-19 runs rampant across the globe.

Although the world slowly started to recover towards the end of 2021, another variant of the virus now infects hundreds and thousands of people daily.

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Unfortunately for the football world, the new Omicron variant seems to defy any of the protective measures professional teams and leagues have in place to protect players and staff from the virus.

Broken, distorted, disrupted, chaotic, untidy, disturbed, might be the only way to describe what the new A-Leagues season will look like with the virus.

The new variant has already infiltrated the A-Leagues and has thrown the competitions into chaos just as the pandemic did in its early stages.

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Melbourne City and Perth Glory’s men’s teams confirmed positive cases within their squad just before Christmas leading the A-League Men to force a postponement of the games.

Since then, nearly every club has had a series of players return positive COVID test results.

Four A-League Men matches in round six were postponed as a result of positive cases within the clubs, and five out of six games in round seven were also postponed.

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While it is relieving that the world game will try to continue to entertain us despite the outbreak within clubs, it is undoubtedly a risky option to keep the season running.

Careless, selfish, and inconsiderate are perhaps words that better describe the actions being taken in order to continue on with the season.

To stop players from contracting the virus, the simple and only reasonable solution is to discontinue the season.

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The current postponements do nothing but disrupt the season, thus many teams are unable to have a fair go at earning points and are unable to properly measure whether they’ll be able to make the finals.

So what’s even the point in continuing the season if the team that wins the premiership or championship has an asterisk next to their name in the history books?

Since the world has moved from the mindset of ‘preventing COVID’ to ‘living with COVID’ the football world and the A-Leagues has followed suit.

The recent postponements display a glimpse of what the A-Leagues will look like with COVID-19 – a broken, disordered football season.

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New measures introduced by the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) show that there is no intention of suspending the season.

The new protocols allow clubs with five or more COVID cases to postpone their games, unless clubs are still willing to play without the COVID positive players.

The introduction of rules such as these display the APL’s determination to continue on with the season.

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For football fans, it comes as good news since there is no need to worry about a cancellation of a season.

But at what point should the football governors make the right call? Or is it already too late?

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Min-Gyu Shim
Bachelor of Journalism student at UQ, and a full time football fanatic. Covering Brisbane Roar for the 2020/21 season.

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