Brisbane Roar's Dimitri Petratos (left) and Melbourne City's Nick Fitzgerald in action at AAMI Park in Melbourne earlier this month.
Brisbane Roar's Dimitri Petratos (left) and Melbourne City's Nick Fitzgerald in action at AAMI Park in Melbourne earlier this month. JULIAN SMITH

Roar clash could be changed over safety concerns

FOOTBALL: Player safety guidelines could lead to Brisbane Roar's A-League clash against Melbourne City at AAMI Park on February 11 being re-scheduled.

The potential need for the game to be pushed back to meet Football Federation Australia's policy of clubs having 72 hours between games arose due to a change in the 2017 AFC Champions League draw.

If, as expected, the Roar beat either Global FC (Philippines) or Tampines Rovers (Singapore) at Suncorp Stadium on January 31 at Suncorp Stadium, they will travel to China the following week to meet Shanghai Shenhua for a spot in the Champions League group stages.

That match had been expected to take place on Tuesday, February 7. However, with Shenhua's neighbours Shanghai SIPG also hosting a Champions League playoff on that date, Shenhua's clash with either the Roar, Global or Tampines will now be played the following night.

If the Roar are involved, kick-off will be less than 72 hours before the start of their A-League battle with Melbourne City going by the current fixture list and times.

An FFA spokesman said the situation was currently being assessed, and that a final decision on the date of the City-Roar match might not be made until after Brisbane guaranteed themselves a trip to China by beating either Global or Tampines on January 31.

Players' union Professional Footballers Australia would call for the City-Roar match to be pushed back and believe that even 72 hours was not enough time between matches when lengthy travel was required.

"In order to preserve competitive balance, the Roar - or any team competing in Asia - must be provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to recover, both in terms of health and safety and high performance,” PFA chief executive John Didulica said.

"Our research shows that applying a policy of 72 hours break between matches is manifestly inadequate when long haul travel is involved.

"We can all see how ridiculous it would be for a team to be punished or disadvantaged for being successful.”


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