Barring a significant relaxation of New Zealand travel restrictions, the Wellington Phoenix will relocate to New South Wales for the purpose of competing in the coming A-League season. This will also mean playing all of their home games in either Wollongong, Canberra, Gosford, or Tamworth, the Phoenix confirmed on Tuesday morning. Pre-season training in preparation of the December 27 start of the new season will commence as early as next week.
Current preparations are focused on the expectation of the club spending the entire season in Australia, said Phoenix General Manager David Dome during Tuesday’s announcement. This will obviously mean an at least seven-month spell away from Wellington – for both players and support staff alike. It’s a huge ask, said Dome, but the team’s only option at this present moment.
Dome also mentioned several home-base options, but pointed out that the final decision has not yet been made and will only be announced following the necessary consultations with local NSW authorities. Wollongong is at this stage rumoured to be the most likely outcome.
If the decision were to be made in favour of Wollongong, the Phoenix will have to decide on a venue for the playing of home games in the city. Possible options include WIN Stadium, Scully Park, Central Coast Stadium, and GIO Stadium. The ultimate decision will have to benefit the club as a whole, stressed Dome.
Players as well as staff will have the option of bringing along their families should they desire to do so. Relocation costs will be part-funded by the club.
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