Sports News

Wellington Phoenix moving to New South Wales for new A-League season

(Reuters) - Wellington Phoenix said on Tuesday they will be based in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) for the start of the A-League campaign and will not return to New Zealand during the season unless COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased.

The Phoenix will assemble in NSW for pre-season preparations from Nov. 1 and under the current agreement ahead of the new season, which starts on Dec. 27, the players can begin training immediately without undergoing quarantine.

Players arriving from other countries must still go through a quarantine process.

“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 said in a statement.

“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.”

Phoenix also relocated to NSW last season due to COVID-19 restrictions, with the players confined to a hub as the A-League completed the campaign.

However, Wellington hope to set up training facilities and accommodation for families and partners this time.

“Just to be absolutely clear -- they’re not going to live in a hotel-type accommodation -- it will be accommodation potentially like they would otherwise be having if they were living in Wellington,” Phoenix general manager David Dome told Newstalk ZB.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford