Steven Taylor sacrifice proves in vain
An eventful time for Steven Taylor.
The former Newcastle defender helping Wellington Phoenix to a 3-0 home win over Melbourne Victory eight days ago (15 March 2020), a victory that moved third placed Phoenix to within four points of second place Victory. A crowd of 7,519 there to see the win for the New Zealand based club, the only one in the Australian dominated A-League.
The day after that win for Steven Taylor and his Phoenix teammates, the A-League confirmed (see below) last Monday (16 March) that the remaining games of the season would continue but behind closed doors, in response to the Coronavirus threat.
However, with both Australia and New Zealand bringing in strict restrictions on travel in and out, Wellington Phoneix announced they were relocating to Sydney for the remaining two months of the season, to allow them to play out the rest of their games. Meaning of course all players would be away from their friends and family for the duration.
On top of that, new rules meant that both Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory squads had to go into 14 day quarantine when entering Australia early last week, meaning postponed matches.
Matches have taken place in the A-League this weekend and today (Monday 23 March 2020), Newcastle Jets won 2-1 against Melbourne City.
However, the Coronavirus situation has moved on and that will almost certainly prove to be the last match to be played for some considerable time.
The Australian government has now advised against “non-essential travel” within Australia because of the coronavirus threat and on Tuesday the FFA (Football Federation Australia) are set to announce the suspension of the A-League season.
So Steven Taylor left New Zealand and is still quarantined for this 14 day period, with no football games able to be played at the end of it.
However, it gets worse, as the New Zealand government 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.
Even if Steven Taylor is allowed back into New Zealand, he would then have to go into quarantine once again for 14 days, with the rest of hi Wellington Phoenix teammates.
The CEO of the Australian football’s governing body James Johnson -16 March 2020:
“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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