Perth has officially lost the right to host the fifth Ashes test due to Mark McGowan’s refusal to budge on his state’s tough Covid restrictions.
In a statement on Monday, Cricket Australia confirmed the highly-anticipated event would be shifted from Perth’s Optus Stadium due to ‘pandemic-related restrictions’.
CA said while ‘every effort’ was made to ensure the final match could be played in Perth, border controls and quarantine requirements have made it impossible.
WA requires all players and personnel staff to quarantine for 14 days – which would mean the game couldn’t be played until January 19.
The respective priorities of WA Cricket, CA and the WA Government could not be coordinated to stage the series in Perth, the statement said.
‘These complexities also mean that any suggestion of changing the order of the venues would not be feasible,’ it read.
Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) CEO Christina Matthews has described the decision to relocate the match as ‘very difficult to accept’.
Perth has officially lost the right to host the fifth Ashes test due to Mark McGowan’s refusal to budge on his state’s tough Covid restrictions
Western Australia requires all players and personnel staff to quarantine for 14 days – which would mean the game could only be played on January 19
Ms Matthews said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ for WA cricket fans who had been looking forward to christening their new stadium.
‘We are extremely disappointed for our members, fans, commercial partners and the wider WA cricket community, as well as all our staff and players who have been looking forward to and planning for the first-ever Ashes to be played at Perth Stadium,’ she said in a statement.
Ms Matthews promised crestfallen fans Perth was ‘well-positioned’ to host other live cricket this summer, including Big Bash League matches.
‘This decision will not waiver our efforts to bring live cricket to Perth this summer, as we continue to work closely with CA and the WA Government,’ she said.
CA chief executive Nick Hockley reiterated they had done ‘everything they could’ to work with under the WA government’s border and health arrangements.
The final match in the series, scheduled to begin on January 14, will be held at a new venue due to be announced in the next few days.
Cricket Australia is reported to be in discussions about changing the venue to Hobart or Melbourne, with NSW and the ACT also throwing their hats in the ring.
The final match in the series to begin on January 14 will be relocated from Perth to a new venue due to be announced in the next few days (pictured, Australian captain Patrick Cummins)
The announcement comes after WA’s attempt to poach the second Ashes Test from Adelaide was slammed by cricket fans across the country.
Sydney will host the fourth round at the SCG on January 5 before the game is supposed to move to Optus Stadium in Perth on January 14.
The isolated state has proposed swapping its round with Adelaide to instead host the second Test on December 16.
If that went ahead, the border closure means interstate travellers would be locked out of Western Australia with only locals able to watch the match at the stadium.
Outraged sports fans around the country took to social media to slam the proposal.
‘The McGowan government now wants Cricket Australia to swap the Perth and Adelaide tests so that WA doesn’t lose its test match this summer,’ one person wrote.
Mark McGowan earlier in the month said the families and partners of cricket players would be banned from making the trip west for the final Test Match
Outraged sports fans around the country took to social media to slam the proposal
‘Imagine having the audacity to lock everyone out then expecting them to rearrange plans to suit you.’
Another person added: ‘Wouldn’t any cricket test in WA be pointless anyway because it’d have to be a single innings for each team because nobody would be allowed back in once they got out?’
WA Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti argued Perth would risk losing out on the Test match if the rounds weren’t swapped.
‘If cricket isn’t able to meet our border rules for the fifth Test in Perth, then they should move the second Test to Perth instead,’ he said.
‘It’s a no-brainer. As long as Queensland stays Covid-free then the teams can fly in ahead of the pink ball day-night Test, which is due to start on December 16.
‘The simple solution would be to bring that Test here while South Australia manages its Covid outbreak. Adelaide can then host the fifth Test originally scheduled for Perth.
Outraged cricket fans have not held back as they slam Western Australia over its proposal to host the second Ashes Test
‘They (the teams) could fly straight into Perth after the Brisbane Test. Then no one will need to worry about quarantine and Covid protocols.’
Cricket commentators have remained unsympathetic saying it would be unfair to swap the rounds.
‘Yeah we can’t host a Test match in mid-January but we’ll try steal the one locked into Adelaide Oval for mid-December and complain when we inevitably don’t get it,’ cricket writer Daniel Brettig tweeted.
‘Galaxy brain stuff from the WA government #Ashes.’
Sports reporter Mark Gottlieb added: ‘No brainer’ is the correct description … just the wrong definition.’