Why one state could have A-League hub jump on rivals
THE remainder of the A-League season could be played out of a Queensland hub.
It was only last weekend that Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson said hubs in Victoria and NSW were being considered as options for completing the suspended 2019-20 campaign by the end of August.
Late last week it was confirmed Queensland was also being assessed with a plan to play the remaining 27 regular-season games and the finals series at venues in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
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"Queensland is one of several states under consideration to serve as the location for the remainder of the A-League 2019-20 season," an FFA spokesperson said.
The ambitious plan would mean players and staff from all 11 clubs would be based in the same location until the season was completed.
It would likely need four or five weeks to complete the remaining fixtures. A start date for the A-League remains unknown as player anxiety builds after the competition was put on hold due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in late March.
Venues likely to be considered in a Queensland hub include Suncorp Stadium, Cbus Super Stadium at Robina and Redcliffe's Dolphin Stadium.
Brisbane Roar skipper Tom Aldred liked the thought of a Queensland hub.
"It would be brilliant," Aldred said.
"With us being from here would be great. We're used to the surroundings and the climate."
However, Aldred would be happy to complete the season anywhere such is his desperation to return to the park with a Roar side sitting pretty in fourth spot on the ladder.
"The lads are ready to get back to playing, eager to get going. Australia is a country that seems quite safe in terms of the virus, so hopefully we can get back playing as soon as possible," he said.
"However way we get the season finished will be great. With that hub system it will 'be good. It's almost like a mini tournament-type World Cup thing.
"It'll be a short turnaround between games but our squad's fit and healthy, so I think we'd do well in that environment.
Earlier in the week, Adelaide United's football director Bruce Djite said the lack of any firm dates about the league's resumption, or even a return to training, was proving increasingly frustrating for players.
There is also a looming concern with approximately half of the competition's players coming off-contract at the end of May.
While it's understood players remain committed to playing out the season, FFA and Professional Footballers Australia, the players' union, are continuing to discuss just how the league can resume safely and practically.