• AFP-JIJI

  • SHARE

Football Federation Australia said Wednesday it was committed to completing the A-League season but was unable to confirm when games would resume as a strict virus shutdown continues.

Australia's soccer league was among the last competitions in world stop playing but has been at a standstill since late March.

The FFA said it will meet again next month to discuss the resumption of competition, but admitted a return to training is unlikely before the end of May.

The league said it would need to ensure the health of players and staff before returning to action, while the government would also have to lift restrictions on travel and large gatherings.

Clubs would also require a training period to allow players to get into shape before matches can begin, FFA chief executive James Johnson said.

"We will resume play as soon as possible, and the first stage would see the players return to training. We would then schedule matches," he said.

"It is difficult to see that process beginning before the end of May, but we will work with all stakeholders to achieve the earliest possible resumption."

Johnson said the league was balancing work to slow the spread of COVID-19 with "supporting the social and mental well-being of the Australian football family and all sports-loving Australians".

"Ultimately, the coronavirus will have the final say on when we can get the season started again, and completed," he said.

Football is not Australia's most popular sport, but more than two million people play the game.

The 11-team A-League kicked off in October and was nearing the end of its regular season when it was suspended.

Australia has confirmed more than 6,600 cases of COVID-19, with 75 deaths from the virus.

However the rate of new cases has slowed in recent weeks, with just 10 recorded Tuesday, raising hopes of a gradual easing of virus shutdown measures.

Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.

Coronavirus banner