Wellington Phoenix to be based in Australia after government enacts strict border controls
Wellington have committed to playing out their A-League season in Australia, even though it means undergoing a self-isolation period after border restrictions introduced to Australia to combat coronavirus.
With doubt surrounding the continuation of the league, the Phoenix are proposing to spend at least six-straight weeks in Australia in pursuit of a maiden title.
Wellington will host Melbourne Victory on Sunday at Sky Stadium, hours before travel restrictions take effect at midnight on both sides of the Tasman.
Phoenix general manager David Dome said his third-placed team had all but bought into playing out their campaign on Australian soil under extraordinary circumstances.
They couldn't play for 14 days while undergoing mandatory isolation, and then would have an intense run of games, probably in empty stadiums.
Wellington would be unable to play road games scheduled next week, against Sydney FC on Wednesday and Newcastle on Sunday.
They would bank on FFA rescheduling both games, while two matches -- which were to have been played in Wellington in April -- would need to be relocated to Australia.
"We didn't want to capitulate and not play out. We had to play out; we had to do our best to get into the finals series," Dome said.
"The disappointing thing for us is that the fans won't be there to enjoy it."
Dome said the team would likely self-isolate in central Sydney accommodation and emerge only for controlled training sessions.
Dome said players would have the choice to commit to a full Australian stay of at least six weeks.
"We don't want to force players to go. We won't mandate it because there are some players with families. There are some players who are expecting children and do we really want to take them away from their newborn babies?"