So far this season, nine of the twelve teams in the A-League Men's have had COVID-19 cases within their sides, with league and FFA Cup games becoming affected.  Four of this last round's matches were postponed due to COVID-19 considerations affecting teams.  In total nine games have been postponed since the beginning of the season.

Townsend A-League's Policy Announcement

  • Australian Professional Leagues CEO announced COVID-19 postponement requirements.
  • The A-League season aims not be extended despite possible postponed games. 
  • Townsend also announced the plan to play through FIFA international windows.

More Australian football news can be found on FTBL.

While football is not the only Australian sport affected by COVID-19, part of the reason for the number of outbreaks it has experienced this season is due to the A-League Men and Women being first Australian domestic sporting competitions to schedule their 2021-22 campaigns with interstate travel and without bubble restrictions. 

However, the recent building up of postponed games in the Men's competition, combined with new border restrictions, has raised questions as to whether the season may at some point need to be extended to deal with future outbreaks and possible need for rescheduling games.

The Australian Professional Leagues' CEO, the entity who runs the A-Leagues, has now come out and stipulated that they will continue to push forward with the regular season schedule and only allow clubs to request game postponements only in extreme cases.

Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on December 27, APL CEO Danny Townsend clarified what A-League clubs would need to postpone games: 

“If the coach wants to play, the game goes ahead.

"However, the club has the option to ask for a postponement if they have five or more players from the previous match team sheet that are out with COVID,” Townsend said.

“Our intention is to continue and play the (men's) season by the end of May but if we have to be flexible with the window, we will.

“We will be playing through the international breaks, that will carry on through March, so that will give us an extra round that wasn’t originally scheduled.”

Townsend also specified that mid-week games could be added when possible.  The decision to play through FIFA international breaks though is a reversal of previous plans by the A-Leagues.  

Football Australia announced in July that they would stop play during international FIFA windows for the upcoming A-League Women's and Men's seasons, with the exception of the additional January Men's window added by FIFA due to COVID.

The plan was abandoned for the A-League Women's competition after the start of their season was delayed by more than a month, with the regular season continuing through the AFC Cup in late January to early February.

The retraction and return of playing through international windows, as has occurred in past A-Leagues seasons, now also brings back the club versus country conundrum for A-League men's players who represent their nation as well.  Clubs are required by FIFA regulations to release players for international duty during the specified windows.

The playing through the men's March break will once again require international players to decide who to represent, club or country.  The Socceroos have their final two AFC Third Round World Cup qualification matches against Japan and Saudi Arabia scheduled in that break.

Speaking to Fox Sports at the end of last season, when the A-League Men's finals clashed with a FIFA international window, Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisborno spoke of his unhappiness with the situation:

“The fact that our season is still going on when the international season is, is crazy,” the City coach said.

“We’ll have to find a solution … it is what it is.

“It’s Australian football. We’ve got international (players) leaving during our season. It only happens in this country.”

According to the interview done with The Age, the decision to rule out an extension of the season past the currently scheduled end date in late May is to ensure that the A-League Men's does not clash with the men's under-23 Asian Cup which starts on June 1, 2022 for which the Olyroos have qualified.


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A full listing of A-League Men's matches can be found using this link.