Perth Glory players allowed to return home for Christmas

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Dec 22, 2021

  • Joey LynchAustralia Correspondent

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      Joey Lynch is a Melbourne-based sports journalist, AYA Cancer advocate, cynical centre-half and Zack Ryder mark. Primarily working on football, he has covered the Socceroos, Matildas, A-League, W-League, Y-League, the Australian grassroots and beyond.

Perth Glory‘s A-League Men‘s side will be home for Christmas with an announcement on Wednesday that an agreement has been reached that will see the club return to Western Australia.

Glory’s 35-person travelling party has been isolated in hotel rooms in Brisbane since last Thursday after they were determined to be close contacts with Pacifique Niyongabire, who returned a positive test for the virus on Wednesday.

Hospitalised in line with standard Queensland procedures surrounding COVID-positive individuals, the 21-year-old winger, Glory CEO Tony Pignata told The West, has “got a little bit of symptoms. He’s in good spirits. He’s not under severe stress.”

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The rest of Glory’s players, including high-profile recruit Daniel Sturridge, are all fully vaccinated and have been testing negative to COVID during their period of Brisbane isolation.

It is now understood that talks between Perth Glory, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), Professional Footballers Australia, and Queensland and Western Australian health authorities have secured an agreement that will see Glory players return to Perth on a chartered flight and finish the remainder of their quarantine period at home.

Assuming the squad and associated staff met all health requirements imposed and continued to test negative for the virus, they would then be able to exit quarantine and reunite with friends and family.

“[A charter flight is] what we’re proposing,” Pignata told Perth’s TABradio on Wednesday.

“We’ll do whatever it takes, charter a plane for them, and they don’t even have to go through any airports, etc. It’s a straight chartered bus to the tarmac, on the plane and home and then we work it from here.”

The APL has been forced to

postpone Glory fixtures against Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United in the wake of their isolation and there exist concerns about their ability to compete in their scheduled road fixtures against Sydney FC, Macarthur FC, and Western Sydney in January given that they will have experienced two weeks without training because of their isolation.

The West Australian club isn’t the only A-Leagues club to have returned positive COVID tests in recent weeks but Queensland’s stricture measures meant that, unlike Sydney, Macarthur, Newcastle Jets, and Western United, they have been the only club to have thus far been thrown into extended isolation as a result of the test.

Daniel Sturridge and his Perth Glory teammates will able to return to Western Australia for Christmas. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The New South Wales- and Victorian-based sides, conversely, have been allowed to resume training and games after returning negative tests, undertaking brief periods of isolation, or a combination of the two.

Glory’s A-League Women’s team, though not afflicted with a positive case, have also had their season thrown into chaos by West Australia’s stringent border restrictions. Recently announced changes to the ALW fixture means that Alex Epakis’ side will not play until the new year and will head to NSW to play several games in January.

The side was initially fixtured to face Adelaide on Dec. 23, but that game at Coopers Stadium will instead now happen on New Year’s Day.

They are then due to host Canberra on Jan. 5 — at a venue still to be confirmed — before heading to NSW to take on Sydney FC on Jan. 8 and Newcastle on Jan. 16. Subsequent “home” games against Western Sydney, on a date to be confirmed and Wellington Phoenix on Jan. 29 will now also be played in NSW.

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