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Coronavirus: Wellington boss Ufuk Talay calls on A-League suspension

Ufuk Talay, Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay wants A-League suspension.

Wellington have confirmed they intend to play out their A-League season in Australia but coach Ufuk Talay said a sensible outcome would be to suspend the competition.

The Phoenix will fly to Sydney on Tuesday and are committed to being based in the city for at least six weeks as they bid to clinch a maiden title in a competition thrust into chaos by the coronavirus.

Talay's team and their opponents in Wellington on Sunday night, Melbourne Victory, will both need to undergo a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation under the border restriction rules introduced by the Australian government soon before kickoff.

Wellington will be unable to play road games scheduled for next week, against Sydney FC on Wednesday and Newcastle on Sunday, while Victory's next two games against Brisbane and Perth will also need to be rescheduled.

Both teams would likely emerge from isolation to face a jam-packed schedule until the end of the regular season.

Talay said it would make sense for the FFA to suspend the league for a period, allowing all teams to take stock and compete on a level playing field while authorities gained a clearer picture on virus containment.

"I believe it needs a break to let this settle down, and I think everyone knows what they need to do moving forward," he said after his team's 3-0 win over Victory.

"I just think common sense should prevail. The first thing to the forefront should be player safety."

Talay said he needed to learn more about the logistical requirements of self-isolation.

He understood his players could train together as they would have travelled together, as long as it isn't in a public place where they could come into contact with anybody from outside the group.

General manager David Dome said before kickoff that no players had been forced to commit to the Australian mission but Talay said he had buy-in from them all when the subject was raised in the post-game sheds.

The one question mark could be over former Socceroos defender Luke DeVere, whose wife is due to give birth within the next two weeks.


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