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FFA And PFA Agree On Plan To Restart A-League In July

Football Federation Australia (FFA) have reached an agreement with the Hyundai A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) on a comprehensive plan for the restart of the 2019/20 A-League season in July.

FFA CEO, James Johnson, said the plan to return to action is based on a hub approach, incorporating best practice health protocols for players and officials, with a schedule that will bring a constant stream of games over a 35-day stretch.

“We are committed to delivering the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season and have agreed a comprehensive plan with the Hyundai A-League clubs and the PFA,” Johnson said.

“All parties have worked together extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure the professional game is ready to resume.

“We are now looking forward to the agreement of our broadcast partner, Fox Sports, to our fixture proposal and timings.

“That’s the final piece of the jigsaw and once we have it in place we can move forward quickly.”

“Ideally mid-June will see players return to training, allowing them to reach the required elite level of fitness for competitive matches to commence by mid-July, and for the Hyundai A-League Finals Series to be completed by mid-August.

“The proposed timing will mean that the culmination of the Hyundai A-League will coincide with the re-start of Australian grassroots football, connecting the professional game and our two million participants like never before,” he said.

PFA chief executive, John Didulica, said the playing groups’ focus had always remained on returning to play, demonstrating their commitment to the game and its wellbeing.

“The organisation is incredibly proud of the players’ commitment, leadership and contribution to preserving the integrity of the A-League during this unprecedented challenge to Australian football,” Didulica said.

“In the absence of a vibrant professional competition there is a flow on effect for the whole game.

“Today we took an important step with the clubs and FFA toward ensuring the health of the game’s short and long-term future,” he said.

Hyundai A-League head, Greg O’Rourke, said stringent health and safety protocols are included in the agreed plan to ensure the safety of participants.

“The hub strategy means that we have a unique opportunity to showcase the Hyundai A-League through a different lens and we will be including new and innovative elements to the matchday broadcast experience,” O’Rourke said.

“Our focus is also on optimising the broadcast flow and therefore providing football content seven days a week.

“We believe that there are great opportunities for our broadcast partner and therefore the fans.

“The health and safety of our players, match officials, coaches, staff and other match day personnel remains our highest priority and we have taken the necessary steps, with the support of government officials and medical experts, to agree and implement the appropriate protocols, which include rigorous screening and testing regimes.

“These protocols are based on best practice for professional sports from around the world and will mean that we are one of a minority of leagues globally that can resume during this period.

“I would like to thank our sponsors and commercial partners for their support, and we particularly appreciate Hyundai working with us through the extended season,” he said.