Sporting calendar in chaos due to rise in Victorian Covid-19 cases

The surge in Covid-19 cases in Victoria and strict new quarantine regulations issued by the Queensland government has threatened to throw the recently-recommenced football seasons into chaos, with the AFL forced into a last-minute change of this week’s fixture.

Victoria announced 75 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, and the Queensland government moved to require any Queensland team, or team based in the state, to quarantine for 14 days if they play against a team from Melbourne.

They will also need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Queensland from playing a game in Melbourne, or if they have played in another state against a team from Melbourne.

As a result, Richmond’s round five game against West Coast, scheduled for Thursday night at the Eagles’ hub on the Gold Coast, has been postponed.

Instead, Sydney will play the Eagles at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, while Richmond meet Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday. Carlton and St Kilda will fill the Thursday night slot at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

More changes to the fixture could come beyond this week’s round, according to the the AFL’s general manager of clubs and broadcasting.

“I want to thank the Queensland government … for their support of the AFL season and for helping us to make the changes this week that are in line with their quarantine requirements related to Covid-19 hotspots,” Travis Auld said.

“Since the beginning of this Covid-19 pandemic we have said consistently that every decision we make will be anchored in the advice of government and the chief health officers and that we would always rely on their advice.

“We understand the decision of the Queensland government.”

The Queensland government’s regulations apply to all sports teams across all codes, raising the possibility of disruption for other sport that has recently resumed or is about to.

The NRL was the first Australian league to recommence after the shutdown, but following the rise in cases in Melbourne, the Storm moved to NSW last week. The club has since relocated again and is now based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Three other teams – Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys – are based in Queensland.

Melbourne Victory had been scheduled to kick-off the resumed A-League season at AAMI Park on 16 July, but that fixture is now in doubt. And there are question marks over the Super Netball season, which features two Victorian teams and one from Queensland and is due to start at the beginning of August.

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