Steven Taylor now worried he won’t be allowed back into the country
These are strange times anyway in football as the sport tries to meet the challenge of dealing with Coronavirus issues but Steven Taylor is having a stranger time of it than most.
On Monday (read below) we brought you the news that Steven Taylor had agreed to move to Australia for two months.
Despite the Coronavirus issues, the A-League are continuing to see out their season, albeit with matches behind closed doors now.
Wellington Phoenix are the only club from New Zealand who play in the Australian dominated league and due to strict new rules on travel, Steven Taylor and the rest of the Phoenix squad have had to relocate to Sydney in order to see out the remainder of the season, which will take around two months at the most, if they reach the finals (currently third in the table with a game in hand, so very likely).
However, now a new problem has emerged for Steven Taylor and Wellington Phoenix.
The New Zealand government has now announced that it will be closing the border to everyone but citizens and permanent residents.
That decision stops any tourist, or temporary visa holder, such as students or temporary workers, from entering into New Zealand.
Australian citizens and residents who normally live in New Zealand can still enter the country but the border closure could have serious consequences for Steven Taylor and the other Wellington Phoenix imported players.
The New Zealand club are now trying to get an answer on whether or not the former NUFC defender and his other imported teammates will be able to get back into the country in May 2020.
The Wellington Phoenix players are in a 14 day quarantine period in Sydney and have had to cancel matches whilst they wait to play after that quarantine ends, though they have been given special permission to be able to train together in advance of playing first team fixtures once again.
Taylor’s predicament sums up just how much we take for granted the ability to travel around the world when we want to.
The Mag – Monday 16 March 2020:
Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor faces an unusual end to the current season.
Last season Wellington Phoenix finished sixth in the A-League.
This season they are doing far better, a 3-0 home win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday moved Phoenix to only one point off Victory with a game in hand.
Steven Taylor has played every minute of the league season so far.
Only six matches of the normal season remain BUT this is where it gets complicated.
Wellington Phoenix are the only club from New Zealand to play in the Australian dominated A-League.
However, in dealing with the Coronavirus threat, both countries have brought in strict rules on travel.
So all of the Phoenix’s remaining games, the six regular season matches and potential finals fixtures, will all be played in Australia, meaning the team will travel to Sydney on Tuesday and stay there as their base for the next two months.
The new rules on travel though, means that Steven Taylor and the other players and staff will have to enter 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival and cannot train while in quarantine. Their next two games against league leaders Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets will have to be rescheduled. Melbourne Victory’s players and staff are also having to go into the 14 days isolation on arriving back from New Zealand.
Football is continuing in Australia to see the season out but all of the A-League games will now be played behind closed doors, with the Australian government’s ban on mass gatherings of more than 500 people.
Steven Taylor and the rest of the Wellington Phoenix players were all given the choice of staying in New Zealand or agreeing to being away from family and friends for two months but only one player is potentially staying behind, as his wife is set to shortly give birth.
The CEO of the Australian football’s governing body James Johnson said:
“We are allowing people to play, in line with the current government position but with additional guidance to further improve social distancing at football fields around the country.
“We have been working closely with our stakeholders, government health officials and our own chief medical officer to develop our policies for the whole of the game following the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The situation is subject to constant change, and further measures may be necessary in the future.
“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.
“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.
“We will continue to work with the government and seek advice as the situation changes.”
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