March 15, 2020 / 11:25 PM / in 17 days

Soccer-Australia's A-League to play on with fan bans

MELBOURNE, March 16 (Reuters) - Australia’s top flight A-League soccer competition has banned fans from matches for the rest of the season as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Monday.

Local media had speculated that the league would be suspended due to government travel curbs that will force two teams, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory, to be quarantined for 14 days upon re-entering Australia after their match in New Zealand on Sunday.

But FFA chief James Johnson said the teams’ matches would be rescheduled after their quarantine period and New Zealand-based Wellington had agreed to remain in Australia to allow the season to continue.

“The decision to play the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season, and the Westfield W-League 2020 Grand Final behind closed doors was made in consultation with the clubs and in accordance with the latest Federal Government advice,” Johnson said in a statement.

There are six rounds left in the A-League regular season before the playoffs.

Travel curbs in New Zealand and Australia have already forced the suspension of Super Rugby, the sprawling rugby union competition which involves teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Toby Davis)

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