Yesterday, the 2020/2021 ABL season started with a 12-6 Sydney Blue Sox victory over the Melbourne Aces. The drastically shortened season will be a tough one due to several restrictions the various Australian states implemented due to Covid-19.
Today it was announced that the Canberra Cavalry is pulling back from their opening series in Perth. Border restrictions forced the club to withdraw as Western Australian officials force anyone coming from New South Wales to quarantine for two weeks following a spike of COVID-19 cases on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Since many of the Cavalry players are based in New South Wales, 18 of the 24 roster players were not allowed to fly into Western Australia without quarantine.
Anyone arriving in Western Australia from New South Wales is required to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested on day 11. This is something many teams will face as soon there is a corona hotspot in their area, especially when every state has its own set of rules.
Another example was the rule that prohibited people from South Australia who lived or had been in a hotspot to enter the state of Victoria. This rule was revoked on December 12 but it clearly shows how complicated the situation is. If this rule would have been in place, a series in which the Melbourne Aces would have hosted the Adelaide Giants might have been impossible.
One can only wonder if the ABL ever thought about this scenario. With the current six teams located in five different states, there is a risk that with every outbreak in one of these states, the others will shut their borders or will intensify their quarantine rules. This will make it almost impossible to finish the season in a proper way.
Don’t be surprised if the ABL decides to cancel the season at one point.