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The border-crossing saga: Flight cancellations, hub life and COVID scares

The Melbourne City playing group and essential staff arrived in the New South Wales hub this past Saturday, but as has been well-publicised, the issues that plagued the group as they attempted to enter the hub have only manifested into different issues after their arrival.

The controversy began last Monday when players and staff received a last minute call to meet at AAMI Park and catch a chartered flight for Canberra as soon as possible due to the impending border closures; the flight the group had initially organised to catch was at 10am on Tuesday morning.

Photo: Melbourne City FC

However, not long before the group was set to depart, they were advised that poor weather conditions in Canberra prevented the flight from going ahead and all were sent home.

The following night, the group again arrived at the airport hoping to catch one of the final flights out of the state but were turned around because of Canberra’s varied regulations around acceptance of interstate travellers which had not been accounted for beforehand.

Photo: Melbourne City FC

Upon finally being granted government exemption and entering the NSW hub, Melbourne City staff were informed that two players from one of the three Victorian clubs were exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms and were immediately tested.

As a precautionary measure, the entire City travelling group was tested on Monday. Since then, all tests have returned negative results, affording the players some much-needed freedom after they had been confined to their rooms for nearly two days.

The team is currently being accommodated in a hotel, but there has been no clear government indication as to whether any member of the group can leave the hub and re-enter. Players were only yesterday allowed to leave their rooms and engaged in their first on-pitch training session in the NSW Hub.

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