Socceroos, Matildas to wear tracking devices

1 month ago 11
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The Socceroos and Matildas will need to wear tracking devices as part of Football Australia's cunning plan to convince state and federal governments to approve international matches to be played at home this year, despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Next week the Socceroos were set to play China in a home World Cup qualifier but the nation's mandatory 14-day quarantine measures meant the match was moved to Doha. Football Australia are determined to get remaining home qualifiers back in Australia though, and to do so, have proposed some severe protocols for its national teams to follow.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, all players will be required to wear GPS tracking devices by Kinexon SafeZone so their movements can be monitored, make for easy contact tracing and so they can be alerted if within an unsafe distance from others.

Harry Souttar (Getty)

Similar devices were used in the NFL and NBA to assist players and staff navigate training and playing games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FA have also offered to put up nets to prevent stray footballs from the pitch sailing into and making contact with the crowd.

The Socceroos are set to play Oman in October and Saudi Arabia in November in New South Wales and with vaccination rates on the rise and the state government promising more freedoms once a certain amount of the population is full vaccinated, there is hope those matches could still take place.

The Matildas are scheduled to play friendlies in Australia in October as well as the world champions the USA in November in a two-match showdown.

"We will continue to work with the federal and state governments about the opportunity to host matches in Australia for both the Socceroos and Matildas in the coming months, including matches scheduled and earmarked for October and November," Football Australia chief James Johnson said.

The Socceroos will face Japan in their World Cup qualification path. (Getty)

"History highlights that playing on home soil provides a distinct advantage for the Socceroos when it comes to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup – a quadrennial global event that unites the world and engages millions of Australians.

"While we needed to put in place plans to play our scheduled home match against China outside of Australia on September 2 to keep the ambitions of our players, coaches, staff, and nation to qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup in motion, we are equally committed to continuing dialogue with governments about bringing the Socceroos, and the Matildas, home this year."

As part of FA's proposal only vaccinated Socceroos and Matildas players and staff will be eligible to return to Australia for the matches and rigorous testing and monitoring of their movements would take place two weeks before their arrival.

The Socceroos haven't played in Australia for nearly two years, and with a strong record at home, the success of their World Cup qualifying campaign is threatened by moving those matches overseas.

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