Cricket Australia has confirmed the fifth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test match will be relocated from Perth Stadium due to pandemic-related restrictions.
For months, Cricket Australia and Western Australia Cricket (WA Cricket) have been working together in conjunction with the Western Australia Government and Perth Stadium to find the possibility to keep the fifth Test in Western Australia.
With the shared goals of prioritising the health and well-being of the WA community, while providing the best possible environment for the players, their families, match officials, staff, and broadcast partners, the parties were unable to come to an agreement.
Cricket Australia said in a statement today, every effort was made to ensure the final test match could be staged in Perth.
However, border controls, quarantine requirements, and the complexities of staging the five-Test series in a tight schedule have meant it is unfortunately not possible to align the respective priorities of all three parties.
WA Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti made a proposal for the second Vodafone Test – a day-night fixture to be played at Adelaide Oval from December 16-20 – to be shifted to Perth, with Adelaide hosting the series finale in January.
That was quickly shut down with the complexities already involved meant that any suggestion of changing the order of venues was not feasible.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said it was disappointing the parties couldn’t arrive at an agreement but looks forward to working closely again with the state government for future matches.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the WA Government, relevant agencies, and Perth Stadium over recent months,” Hockley said in a statement.
“We are very disappointed that we are unable to stage the fifth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test at Perth Stadium. 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.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the WA Government, Perth Stadium and WA Cricket to hold upcoming BBL matches and the Dettol ODI v New Zealand in Perth and thank them for their continued support.”
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WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews said it was disappointing for all involved.
“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,” Matthews said in a statement.
“We’ve been working closely and constructively with the WA Government and Cricket Australia for many months to bring this fixture to Perth amid the pandemic-related challenges we’ve faced.”
Matthews said it was ‘very difficult to accept’ the decision that was made but understands the complexities of holding the Test in Western Australia would have been tricky and will continue to fight for cricket matches to be held in the decent future.
“The complexity of staging the Test in the face of strict border controls and quarantine requirements has resulted in it not being possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, Cricket Australia, and WA Cricket,” she said.
“This decision will not waiver our efforts to bring live cricket to Perth this summer as we continue to work closely with Cricket Australia and the WA Government.”
Despite missing out on the Test match, Perth Stadium will still see cricket this summer, as the Perth Scorchers host a few games and a one-day international against New Zealand in January. Matthews said the stadium is still one of the best venues in the country to watch cricket.
“With world-class facilities and the opportunity for cricket fans to attend matches, we maintain that WA is well-positioned to host elite cricket, including Big Bash League matches,” Matthews said.
“We witnessed the Perth Scorchers claim their first-ever WBBL title last month in front of the largest standalone crowd in the league’s history, and we look forward to hosting the BBL opener against the Brisbane Heat this Wednesday, December 8.”
Discussions about a replacement venue for the fifth Test match are underway, with Hobart looking in the box seat to host the Ashes finale. Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are also options Cricket Australia are exploring.
The First Ashes test is set to get underway on Wednesday morning in Brisbane at the Gabba. Play is set to start at 11:00 am AEDT.
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