Sydney, June 19 (IANS) Wellington Phoenix, the only A-League club based in New Zealand, has finally been cleared to travel to Australia and play out the rest of the season halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phoenix got a verbal clearance from A-League boss Greg O'Rourke Friday morning after the club made the bold move last night to book a charter flight for Sydney, departing on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) formally confirmed the decision later in a statement.
"FFA today confirmed that Wellington Phoenix FC have received the requisite clearances to travel to Australia to commence a period of quarantine and training ahead of the A-League's resumption on July 16," it said.
"Phoenix players, coaches, and staff completed their COVID-19 screenings in New Zealand earlier this week and will now travel to Australia on Saturday."
Upon arrival, all staff and player will undergo two weeks of quarantine before reuniting with Australia-based players and foreign players Ulises Davila and Gary Hooper.
Currently sitting in third place in the league's ladder, Phoenix will play their first game against Sydney FC on July 17.
Phoenix general manager David Dome had criticised the delay in getting entry clearance earlier this week but said the quad were now excited to have their schedule secured.
"They feel they have unfinished business and they can't wait to go over there and rediscover that momentum we had back in March," Dome said.
"With a full-strength, committed squad and the backing of New Zealand behind us, there's no reason we can't secure a top three finish - and potentially a home semi-final in Wellington for the fans. That's our goal and our supporters deserve nothing less."