By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) -The fifth test in the upcoming Ashes series between Australia and England will be moved from Perth to another venue because of the border controls in place in Western Australia, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Monday.
The governing body said attempts to negotiate conditions for the Jan. 14-18 match at Perth Stadium that would suit all parties had proved impossible and that discussions had begun over a replacement venue.
“We are very disappointed that we are unable to stage the Ashes test at Perth Stadium,” CA chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement.
“We did everything we could … to make it work under the current border and health arrangements, but unfortunately this was not possible.”
Western Australia has largely managed to keep COVID-19 out of the state with strict controls and it currently bans travellers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia from crossing its border without undergoing 14 days quarantine.
The fourth test is scheduled to finish in the New South Wales capital of Sydney on Jan. 9, leaving insufficient time for the players to complete their period of isolation.
Hobart, which was scheduled to host a test against Afghanistan in November before it was postponed in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country, is favourite to take over hosting rights for the fifth test.
Officials in Sydney and Melbourne have also indicated they would be prepared to host a second test in the series.
A last-gasp proposal by a Western Australia government minister to keep the by Perth swapping dates with the Dec. 16-20 second test in Adelaide was unsuccessful.
Travellers to Western Australia from Queensland, where the first test gets underway on Wednesday, are allowed to enter without quarantine and sports minister Tony Buti had suggested the players head straight to Perth from Brisbane.
“Border controls, quarantine requirements and the complexities of staging a five-test series in a tight schedule have meant it is unfortunately not possible to align the respective priorities (of all stakeholders),” the CA statement said.
“These complexities also mean that any suggestion of changing the order of the venues would not be feasible.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)