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Wellington Phoenix Move To NSW Hub For Second Time

T
he Wellington Phoenix are set to move to a New South Wales (NSW) hub for the second consecutive A-League season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The A-League club will likely be based in Wollongong from November 1, where they will be able to begin training for the A-League’s December 27 start.

In a statement, the Phoenix said they are still hopeful they will be able to play home games in Wellington in the latter stages of the 2020/21 season, dependent on a trans-Tasman travel bubble allowing players and staff to travel between Australia and New Zealand without compulsory two-week quarantines.

“Should a trans-Tasman bubble eventuate during the season, the club will review the potential to play home games in New Zealand later in the season,” the Phoenix statement said.

“This is dependent on changes being made by the New Zealand government around the two week quarantine process upon a person’s return to New Zealand, when it is deemed safe to do so, and the costs incurred of relocation back to New Zealand.

“The club would like to recognise the continued sacrifice of its players, coaches and technical staff, who again face the prospect of being separated from their families and loved ones for a long period of time,” the statement said.

The sole New Zealand-based club in the A-League, the Phoenix spent nine weeks in an Australian hub from June to August to finish the 2019-20 A-League season.

Phoenix general manager, David Dome, told the Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s a huge ask.”

“But really there is no option,” he said.

The current travel restrictions due to COVID-19 mean that any players or staff from New Zealand will be able to enter NSW without the need to quarantine in isolation, but any players from any other countries must quarantine for two weeks upon entry.