The FFA has been forced to seek an exemption for its three Melbourne clubs from the NSW Government to cross the state border after a last-minute exit plan fell through.
Players and staff from Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United gathered at Tullamarine Airport late Monday night in order to leave the state before border restrictions came into place at midnight.
However, due to poor visibility at Canberra Airport — their destination — the plane was unable to take off, forcing the players back home and putting the resumption of the A-League season at risk.
The state border is now closed to Melbourne residents, although will not close to Victorian residents from outside Melbourne until 12:01am Wednesday.
Western United striker Besart Berisha described the situation as “unbelievable” in an Instagram video filmed by Alessandro Diamanti.
“Never in my life, in my career do I see this before,” Berisha said.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke said every effort had been made to relocate the clubs out of Victoria yesterday.
“We will now begin the process to seek exemptions from the NSW Government to allow the teams to enter NSW for them to continue their season,” O’Rourke said.
“If we find it necessary to revise the match schedule, we will do so accordingly and will announce once confirmed, however at this time the schedule remains the same.”
Diamanti was later filmed calling out to some of his fellow players, who arrived back at their accommodation after 1:00am today: “No give up. We try tomorrow.”
The A-League is due to restart on July 16 with Melbourne Victory and Western United meeting at a yet-to-be decided venue.
Western United are then due to play Melbourne City on July 20.
If the league resumes, all matches bar one — Brisbane Roar vs Adelaide United at Robina — are expected to take place in New South Wales.