FFA takes blame for botched Melbourne evacuation

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Football Federation Australia's Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke has taken responsibility for failed attempts to get A-League teams out of Victoria state amid a COVID-19 outbreak that has endangered the July 16 restart of the competition.

Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United went to the airport two nights in succession on Monday and Tuesday hoping to fly to neighbouring New South Wales state before the border was closed.

However, they had to return home both times, prompting criticism from the players' union.

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Fog in Canberra foiled their flight on Monday but their second attempt was cancelled due to a change in quarantine restrictions in the Australian Capital Territory.

"This is just like the normal sporting world -- it doesn't matter how good your plan is, you get beat 6-0 then the general public wants to know why it happened and why you didn't do better," O'Rourke told local radio station SEN on Thursday.

"We understand that and that's my responsibility, and I'm not going to shirk that at all. What I need to do, like any other coach and any other leader, is come out and make sure we win the next game."

Rival football codes have also had to move their teams out of Victoria.

The AFL ensured 10 Victoria-based teams were out of the state last week as COVID-19 infections accelerated, while Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels also headed to Canberra a week earlier than planned for their match against ACT Brumbies over the weekend.

O'Rourke conceded the FFA was caught off guard when NSW closed its border with Victoria this week.

"All the conversations we were having were that the NSW-Victorian border was not going to close, and they were over last weekend ... And we know what happened," he said.

The A-League is now pinning its hopes on the three teams being granted exemptions by NSW health authorities to enter the state.

O'Rourke hoped the exemptions would be approved later on Thursday.

"If we were to receive the exemption, we would move within 24 hours," he said.