Melbourne Victory officials are planning for their Asian Champions League game against Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan to go ahead as scheduled on April 8 at AAMI Park, despite mounting fears over the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Beijing Guoan was away from China carrying out a pre-season camp in South Korea in January this year, avoiding the possibility of infection when the illness first went viral.
Renato Augusto and Beijing Guoan beat Chiangrai United in their ACL fixture in Thailand last month.Credit:Getty Images
As the disease has intensified and been transmitted all over the world, the soccer club has stayed out of China, playing its opening Asian Champions League fixture in Thailand and then returning to a training camp in the Middle East so as to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.
"Obviously we are watching everything on as close a basis as we can and are taking advice from the relevant authorities and the Asian Football Confederation," Victory's CEO Trent Jacobs said.
"We are planning for the home game with Beijing to go ahead as programmed at this point, but it will ultimately come down to what the federal government and the authorities say in the lead up."
When Beijing played their first ACL match – a 1-0 win over Chiangrai United – they came to Thailand a fortnight ahead of the game to acclimatise and train without disruption.
It is believed that they will adopt a similar approach for the visit to Australia, arriving in Newcastle in late March to prepare for their clash with Victory.
The Melbourne side won their opening match of the ACL against Chiangrai, and then lost their second game 1-0 to FC Seoul in South Korea on February 18.
* The coronavirus has had an impact on A-League newboys Western United. CEO Chris Pehlivanis had planned to travel overseas for meetings with player agents as the club looks to replenish its stocks for its second season, but he has had to put that on hold for the time being.
"There was no point going somewhere and then having to be in quarantine and not able to do much for 14 days," he said.
Western has several players out of contract for next season, including marquee man Alessandro Diamananti, Croatian import Dario Jertec, new signing Steven Lustica and veteran Andrew Durante.
It has a second-year option it can exercise for goalkeeper Filip Kurto, who has been one of the team's standout players.
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