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Phoenix pre-season training impacted by travel restrictions from Australia

News from Wellington Phoenix
With the New Zealand Government’s announcement on Friday of a two-month pause of the trans-Tasman travel bubble, the Wellington Phoenix wishes to update the public on how this affects the Club and its pre-season preparations.

The Club’s pre-season will commence on Monday in Wellington with the players available to us in New Zealand.

We currently have multiple players competing in the Tokyo Olympics and will await their return to New Zealand once their National Team duties are completed – they will need to complete their 14 day quarantine upon their return.

Head Coach Ufuk Talay, Assistant Coach Giancarlo Italiano, Joshua Laws and Jaushua Sotirio are still located in Australia; the Club has thus far been unsuccessful in getting them back to New Zealand over the past several weeks due to the Covid situation in NSW. The only good news in this regard has been Steven Taylor, who was able to fly out of NSW on Friday and is now in MIQ in Christchurch.

Obviously this all impacts upon our pre-season training, but without any other options available to us we are managing the situation as best we can – and the announcement of the two-month pause of the trans-Tasman travel bubble has further complicated the issue for us.

Contrary to reports, the Club does not have any special access or privileges to gaining MIQ spots for players and coaching staff returning to New Zealand; we must adhere to the same process as anyone else and spaces in MIQ have been, and continue to be, in extremely high demand.

With our focus on having some form of pre-season for all players – and getting the squad together as soon as possible – we are constantly monitoring the situation as it unfolds. We are also assessing how this decision impacts on the Club’s ability to compete in the FFA Cup, currently scheduled to be played next month.

It is important to note that the Wellington Phoenix remains committed to competing in the 2021/22 A-League season, but there are several major challenges that we must first overcome. We will be relying on the continued assistance of the New Zealand government to help make this possible, to ensure that our season is secure in this Covid environment.

Players available for pre-season
– David Ball
– Louis Fenton
– Gary Hooper (released from MIQ on Wed 28 Jul)
– James McGarry
– Tim Payne
– Alex Rufer
– Oliver Sail
– Steven Taylor (released from MIQ on Fri 6 Aug)

Players and staff awaiting MIQ
– Giancarlo Italiano, Assistant Coach
– Joshua Laws
– Jaushua Sotirio
– Ufuk Talay, Head Coach
– Ben Venn, Head Physiotherapist

Players Currently in Tokyo
– Clayton Lewis (OlyWhites)
– Ben Old (OlyWhites, Phoenix Academy player)
– Alex Paulsen (OlyWhites, Phoenix Academy player)
– Reno Piscopo (Olyroos)
– Sam Sutton (OlyWhites)
– Ben Waine (OlyWhites)