Football Federation Australia has revealed details of the re-start of the domestic A-League but is still working on a revised broadcast deal with pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports.
The 2019-20 A-League season will resume on July 16 with Melbourne Victory taking on Western United at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Previous reports showed concerns between clubs and the players’ union over player payments, scheduling, and Covid-19 safety measures had been resolved, clearing the way for the league to restart.
The FFA has now said A-League clubs will be free to return to training from today (Tuesday) onwards subsequent to the successful completion of Covid-19 medical screenings and the implementation of operational plans to minimise the risk of infection at their training sites and club facilities.
The FFA is also confident of allowing supporters back into grounds for the matches in July.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week gave approval for crowds of up to 10,000 people to be allowed into sports stadiums from next month.
All fans must be ticketed and seated with social distancing rules in place, and attendance will be limited to 25 per cent of the venue’s capacity.
Referring to the broadcast plans for the remainder of the season, the FFA noted: “We look forward to continuing discussions with our broadcast partners regarding broadcast details of all matches.”
It was reported last month that Fox was seeking a reduction of between 50 and 70 per cent to its A$57.6m- (€35.2m-/$39.9m-) per-year rights deal for the remaining three years of the contract.
Agreed in December 2016, Fox holds a six-year rights agreement covering the 2017-18 to 2022-23 seasons. The deal allows Fox Sports to broadcast the A-League, the women’s W-League, and Australian men’s and women’s national team matches on Foxtel’s linear television and streaming platforms.