The Ashes Final may see a shift in location post-Western Australia's stringent covid stance
With less than a week remaining for the hallowed Ashes, life is becoming increasingly difficult for the Perth authorities to hold the slated fifth Test of the series as Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has ingeminated his hardline stance on the rules of quarantine which would also put a moratorium on the wives and girlfriends of the players from being present in the stadium.
The 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium in Perth was almost assured of hosting the upcoming Ashes finale from 14th January 2022. As the number of cases was on a sharp decline, the authorities were hopeful of smoothly going forth with the grand finale.
However, the emergence of the Omicron variant has spawned new complexities and now the entire equation that was supposed to be smooth and simple has devolved into a cesspool of austerity and stringent regulations.
On Saturday, Western Australia Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews professed that the chances of Perth hosting the final Test has gone down significantly. Matthews highlighted the fact that one of the major hindrances in the finale going forth is the sheer size of the crew. With such astronomical numbers filling the stadium, the quarantine procedures can very well go for a toss.
McGowan clarified on Tuesday that there is no chance of the shortening of the 14-day quarantine period. Hence, the players would have to complete the quarantine periods before they could be a part of the final Test. McGowan also clarified that the remaining crew members would not have any exemption from the aforementioned rules.
McGowan was heard quoting, “We have put in place very strict rules. So we've said to them, ‘you need to have 14 days quarantine.’” He continued, “They can't just bring wives and girlfriends with them - same rules as we put in place for the AFL. It's up to them whether they want to adhere to those rules or not."
In case if the Test doesn’t go forth in Perth, the possible replacements for the venue are Sydney and Melbourne. Stuart Ayres, NSW minister for tourism quoted, “We've said to Cricket Australia that we're here to help if they need it. I would love to see Perth host a Test match. That community over there has had to live behind a very closed border for a long time. So they deserve to have some fantastic sporting content.” He concluded by saying, “But if the West Australian government doesn't want that to happen, then NSW is ready to help Cricket Australia."