A-League to complete season in empty stadiums amid coronavirus pandemic

Australian top-flight aims to condense the remaining six rounds into three or four weeks

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 16: Ben Carrigan of Melbourne Victory arrives for his flight back to Australia at Wellington Airport on March 16, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Strict new border measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 came into effect at 1am on Monday, requiring all arrivals into New Zealand to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Those in self-isolation must avoid social gatherings, work, school, child care facilities, university, religious gatherings, aged care and health facilities, prisons, sports gatherings, restaurants, and all public gatherings during the two-week period. New Zealand currently has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
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The A-League, Australia's top-flight football competition, will continue without fans, Football Federation Australia said on Monday, despite two teams who played in New Zealand at the weekend having to be quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The domestic tournament has six rounds left, with organisers planning to condense the remaining matches into three or four weeks. The women's W-League has only its final to play.

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the decision to keep going was made in consultation with clubs, while taking into account the latest government advice.

"The health and safety of all members of the football community, including players, coaches, referees, volunteers, administrators and fans continues to be of paramount importance," he said.

"We will continue to work with the government and seek advice as the situation changes."

Ten of the 11 teams in the A-League are Australian, with the exception of New Zealand's Wellington Phoenix who beat Melbourne Victory 3-0 in the New Zealand capital on Sunday.

Phoenix will travel to Sydney on Tuesday and undergo a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period, in line with new government rules for all arrivals.

The Australian team were unable to meet the quarantine deadline of midnight Sunday, meaning they too will have to self-isolate, a turn of events that was labelled "a disgrace" by the leader of the players' union.

John Didulica said the team would not have gone to New Zealand if they had known about having to spend 14 days in isolation on their return, with the decision only announced by the government on Sunday.

"It's a disgrace. If we had been told this was a possibility then we would not have flown over there," he told reporters.

The FFA also announced that grassroots football would proceed, but with only essential participants allowed to attend.

On Sunday, Australia's rugby league bosses decided to continue their season, which only started this weekend, behind closed doors.

The country's most popular spectator sport, Australian Rules football, said its season would begin on Thursday as scheduled but also with no spectators.

Southern hemisphere rugby union authorities at the weekend suspended the Super Rugby season, which spans five countries - Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.