News Coronavirus Border closures cost Perth its hosting rights for Ashes Test

Border closures cost Perth its hosting rights for Ashes Test

On-field action in Adelaide isn't jeopardised by the latest COVID scare, but some media coverage might be. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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Perth has officially lost hosting rights to the fifth Ashes Test after South Australia denied it an 11th hour request, with officials deeming biosecurity requirements were impossible to overcome.

Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday the venue for the fifth Test was no officially listed as TBC, with players unable to enter Western Australia without quarantining.

Hobart remains the slight favourite to host the match, while Queensland joined Victoria, NSW and ACT in volunteering to host the match.

In doubt for months, the pin was eventually pulled when it became clear players and their partners would have to remain in quarantine for the match after leaving Sydney’s New Year’s Test.

Similar challenges also surrounded broadcasters and technicians, who would have also been in NSW.

“We are very disappointed that we are unable to stage the fifth men’s Ashes Test at Perth Stadium,” Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.

“We did everything we could in partnership with the WA government and WA Cricket to make it work under the current border and health arrangements.

“But unfortunately this was not possible.

“We are particularly disappointed for Western Australian cricket fans who were so looking forward to seeing the first ever Ashes Test at the new stadium.”

South Australian cricket officials earlier shut down any attempt to swap the venues of the second and fifth Tests in a last-ditch play from WA.

Western Australia’s sports minister Tony Buti argued Perth should host the second match of the series, given there would be no need to quarantine with his state open to Queensland.

Mr Buti said Adelaide could host the series finale next month, allowing time for their limits on crowds to ease as part of the state’s current COVID-19 outbreak.

But that suggestion was promptly shut down by South Australian Cricket Association acting chief executive Jodie Newton, who said any such change would be a “logistical nightmare”.

“There has be no indication at any point that there will be any change to the fixture,” Ms Newton told reporters.

It means Perth will go two straight summers without a Test match, after last year’s fixture between Australia and Afghanistan was postponed because of COVID-19.

A women’s Test there earlier this summer was also moved while a one-day match between Australia and New Zealand on January 30 is also likely subject to biosecurity issues.

Cricket Tasmania CEO Dominic Baker is adamant the Tim Paine saga should not count against them, while Victorian government officials argue CA should make a commercial decision during the pandemic with the MCG offering a far greater capacity.

The NSW government and Cricket ACT have stated their desires to host the January 14-18 Test at the SCG and Manuka Oval respectively.

Queensland sports minister Stirling Hinchliffe on Monday also threw the Gabba forward as an option to host a second Test this summer.