May 22, 2020 / 8:51 AM / 9 days ago

Soccer-A-League teams could be back training in June: Phoenix coach

MELBOURNE, May 22 (Reuters) - Teams in Australia’s top flight soccer competition could be back in training as early as June 1 to prepare for a resumption of the season, Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.

The A-League was suspended in March because of the novel coronavirus outbreak with five rounds of the regular season and the championship playoffs left to play.

The league hopes to resume in time to decide its championship by the end of August.

“The discussions that have been had at the moment, maybe like June that we’ll be back on the park, maybe June 1 that we’ll be able to start training,” Talay said on a team podcast.

“There are still a lot of protocols that we need to go through.”

The Phoenix, the only New Zealand team in the competition, have additional challenges due to international travel restrictions and border controls.

They are looking to base themselves in Australia, at least initially, following the example set by the New Zealand Warriors in the National Rugby League.

Talay said his team would need about four weeks of training to be ready for the restart.

“We just need to make sure the environment is safe for the players to come in and do their work,” he said.

“At the end of the day we’re talking about people’s health and players need to the do the right things.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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