Western United captain and former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti has signed a new contract, the A-League club announced on Friday.

Diamanti will remain with Western United in Australia on a two-year deal – a boost for the league's newest team as the 2019-20 season prepares to resume on July 16 following the COVID-19 crisis.

The 37-year-old former West Ham, Bologna and Atalanta attacker – who had been linked to rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City – arrived as a marquee signing in July last year.

Diamanti has flourished in the A-League, scoring five goals and supplying seven assists in 19 appearances prior to the coronavirus-enforced break in March.

"We've started something special this year at Western United and I'm excited to re-sign and continue the journey we have started together," Diamanti said.

"Our coach Mark Rudan has supported me since I arrived and given me the freedom to enjoy my football and express myself, so I thank him for that. Both he and the club are building something special and I want to be part of it as long as I can.

"I was honoured to be the first captain of Western United, and I hope I can continue to help the club be successful and entertain our great fans."

"From the day he walked into the football club Alessandro has been a marquee in every sense of the word," Western United head coach Mark Rudan added.

"He's been fantastic on and off the park. His footballing skills has had the whole competition in awe, equally his positive attitude and personality has been adored by not just our fans but every football fan around the league.

"We're ecstatic as a football club to extend Diamanti's contract as we continue to build and grow Western United."

In May, Diamanti told Stats Perform News that the A-League had reignited his passion for football following his arrival from Serie B side Livorno.

"Virus or no virus, I would have kept playing anyway," he said. "For sure I will still be playing football as long as I feel physically and psychologically like this, being able to offer great performances and loving to train everyday.

"Then to be honest, to come here gave me back that lightness and that passion you always tend to lose in Europe. I will stay here in Australia next season."

Western United were sixth after their 20 matches when the league was halted due to COVID-19.

Diamanti and Western United are scheduled to resume their season against the Victory on July 16, though a location for the fixture is still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) released the schedule for the remaining matches of the coronavirus-hit A-League season, with a bonanza of 27 games in 28 matches before a quick-fire finals series.

The 2019-20 A-League campaign has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, but Australia's premier football competition is set to restart on July 16 followed by a five-game finals series – the Grand Final to take place on August 23.

A derby between Melbourne Victory and Western United – originally scheduled for AAMI Park in Melbourne – will be played at a stadium still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

Six venues will be used in New South Wales and Queensland with the potential for more to be added subject to government regulations – ANZ Stadium (NSW), Bankwest Stadium (NSW), Central Coast Stadium (NSW), McDonald Jones Stadium (NSW), Jubilee Stadium (NSW) and Cbus Stadium (QLD).

"Over the past three months all stakeholders have been working hard together with one goal in mind – To finish what we started," FFA's Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke said on Wednesday.

"We know the COVID-19 environment has been very difficult for many people in our community and we hope that delivering an extravaganza of matches will allow our fans to basically see a game everyday will be a unique experience for those who have stood by us.

"As we are a truly national game, the current border controls means that some of the match day venues may need to change, however we have secured venues in both a NSW Hub model and a hybrid hub model which has most games in NSW but allows for a few games in other states.

"Whilst we don't see the draw changing, the planning we have undertaken provides us with agility to shift between certain states if required. This version of the draw displays our current venue plan.

"We will continue to work with the Federal and State governments to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches and other stakeholders and have detailed and practical protocols in place for all parties involved in training and match days.

"I am excited to see us kick off the restart and ultimately finish off what we started last October, with our priority always being to be in a position to crown our Hyundai A-League premiers and champions for this season."

Defending champions Sydney FC top the table by eight points through 20 matches, though second-placed Melbourne City have played three games less.

Wellington Phoenix have been cleared to travel to Australia to complete the 2019-20 A-League season.

The A-League campaign is set to restart on July 16, having been suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wellington will travel to New South Wales on Saturday to complete the season, while Ulises Davila and Gary Hooper will meet the squad in Australia after travelling from Mexico and the United Kingdom respectively.

In further good news for the Phoenix, they will be able to train for the first two weeks in a "full isolation environment".

"It's huge for us to see that the season can resume. This is the best outcome for the fans, sponsors, players and everyone involved in football across Australia and New Zealand," Phoenix general manager David Dome said.

"We are extremely grateful to FFA, especially head of leagues Greg O'Rourke, New South Wales border control and New South Wales Department of Health authorities for all their efforts in gaining the club entry into Australia."

Dome added: "Plaudits have to go to our players for their commitment to finishing out the season – they feel they have unfinished business and they can't wait to go over there and rediscover that momentum we had back in March.

"With a full-strength, committed squad and the backing of New Zealand behind us, there's no reason we can't secure a top-three finish – and potentially a home semi-final in Wellington for the fans. That's our goal and our supporters deserve nothing less."

Sitting third in the table with six regular-season games to play, Wellington will face leaders Sydney FC on July 17.

Queensland will allow small crowds to return to sporting events from Saturday in good news for the NRL and potentially the A-League.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Wednesday that up to 2,000 fans can return to stadiums beginning on the weekend.

The Gold Coast Titans are hosting the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

Brisbane Roar could also welcome fans to the ground when the A-League season resumes in mid-July, while it is also good news for the AFL.

"Up to 2,000 fans can return to Queensland's stadiums from this weekend," a tweet from Palaszczuk read.

"Queenslanders have done an incredible job smashing the curve, and codes have done their part to develop COVID Safe plans to keep fans safe.

"It's another positive step on our road back to normal and I know Queenslanders are eager to get back to games to cheer on our teams."

Australia has more than 7,300 cases of coronavirus, including 102 deaths.

Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell welcomed the move, while praising Queensland's handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

"This is obviously great news for the Titans and the NRL, but for fans of sports across Queensland," he said.

"The past few months have been tough on everyone, and the hard work done by the NRL in getting our competition restarted gave us a feeling that life was finally returning to normal.

"Thanks to the premier and her government in containing the virus in Queensland, we are now at the stage where we are able to take the next step on the journey back to normal life, with 2,000 spectators able to come to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday to enjoy a day at the footy.

"This is a great reward for Titans fans who have been unable to get along to support their team at games, and obviously a big boost for our playing group as well to be able to run onto the field and see and hear the support they have from the Titans Legion.

"This is a wonderful leap forward, but we are not yet at the ultimate goal of a return to full crowds at sporting events. We will continue to be guided by the government and the NRL as we all work towards that goal. There will still be a number of public health restrictions and protocols in place at the venue to ensure the health and safety of our fans.

"But this is certainly a positive milestone for us, the NRL and sports fans in Queensland, and the Titans are delighted to be the first Queensland team to be back playing in front of our supporters this weekend."

The 2019-20 A-League season is set to resume with a derby between Melbourne Victory and Western United on July 16.

Australia's premier football competition was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with just 27 matches and the finals remaining.

On Monday, it was announced that the A-League campaign had been extended until the end of August following talks between Football Federation Australia (FFA), the clubs and players.

The FFA has now confirmed it has several draw options ready, though the clash between Victory and Western United at AAMI Park in Melbourne will kick-off the resumption of the season.

The only other fixture revealed is defending champions Sydney FC's match against third-placed Wellington Phoenix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, with the remaining regular-season games to be played over a 28-day period before the finals.

"We have developed multiple draw options for the completion of the regular season," FFA's head of leagues Greg O'Rourke said on Tuesday.

"All options commence with Victory taking on Western United at AAMI Park followed by a game between the table topping Sydney FC against third-placed Wellington Phoenix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium the following day.

"The reason for having multiple draw options – which our clubs are across – is due to the fact that over the next few weeks there may be additional relaxations in border restrictions and travel movements in Australia, which may enable our clubs from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to remain and play in their home cities, rather than relocating to New South Wales to complete the season. 

"Regardless of which option we ultimately take, Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory FC understand that they will complete the remainder of their regular season matches in New South Wales, with games to be played at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah, and McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle. 

"We are confident that we will be able to release the revised draw for the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season soon."

Sydney top the table through 20 games, 21 points ahead of sixth-placed Western United, while Victory are second from bottom.

Adelaide United have appointed former striker Carl Veart as their interim head coach until the end of the A-League season.

Veart returned to the Reds as an assistant in June last year and will take charge for the remainder of the campaign, which could reportedly restart next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-year-old replaces Gertjan Verbeek, who quit in April amid uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

"I'm extremely proud to be given this opportunity to coach Adelaide United in the short term," Veart said.

"I have learned a lot this season as an assistant and certainly looking forward to the extra responsibility and challenge of leading this team.

"Our goal with five games to go will be to push for a finals spot and I believe this team is capable of achieving that."

Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite lauded Veart, who played for the club between 2005 and 2007.

"Carl's knowledge and tactical understanding of the game are second to none," he said.

"Having worked with these players all season, I'm confident Carl can make the step up as head coach and do a tremendous job.

"Carl has a wealth of experience from his accomplished playing career and as a proud South Australian he also knows the landscape and what it takes to succeed being a former Red."

Airton Andrioli has been appointed interim assistant coach at Adelaide, who are seventh in the table.

The A-League season has been extended until the end of August after talks between Football Federation Australia (FFA), the clubs and players.

The campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with just 27 matches and the finals left to be played.

FFA chief executive James Johnson thanked the clubs and players ahead of a potential resumption in mid-July.

"I'd like to thank the players and clubs for their commitment to restarting the Hyundai A-League 2019-20 season," he said.

"These are extremely challenging times and I'd like to acknowledge the leadership shown by all to ensure our loyal supporters across Australia will be able to see their favourite teams back in action again soon.

"When the A-League was suspended on 24 March, our players had been paid for the full 10 months of the season equating to 83 per cent of their contracted salaries. Our players have shown great solidarity and have agreed to take a reduction in pay for the additional three months of the season to ensure that it can be completed.

"We have all had to readjust to this new landscape and this has meant coming together to make sacrifices for the greater good of the game. The resumption of the Hyundai A-League 2019-20 season is another step forward for the reactivation of football, and we look forward to a return to training and competitive action."

FFA head of leagues Greg O'Rourke said a revised draw would be released soon as talks continue with broadcast partners.

"We'd like to acknowledge the executives of the PFA [Professional Footballers Australia] and Hyundai A-League clubs for their collaboration and work in getting this deal done to take us through to the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2019-20 season," he said.

"We can now focus on the testing of all players for COVID-19 before a return to training for the clubs this week.

"We will announce details of the revised draw for the remaining 27 matches of the regular season shortly, which will be contested over a period of 28 days, plus the five final series matches.

"We look forward to continuing discussions with our broadcast partners regarding broadcast details of all matches."

Australia is ready to ditch the cardboard cutouts and welcome back thousands of spectators to its major sporting events, prime minister Scott Morrison has declared.

From July, venues with up to 40,000 seats will be allowed to operate at a limit of 25 per cent capacity, providing events are ticketed and seated.

Morrison confirmed the same guidelines could also apply to larger venues but said local health authorities would need to assess coronavirus risk on a case-by-case basis.

The news could mean events such as the NRL and AFL welcome back supporters next month, and it boosts the prospect of cricket's ICC Twenty20 World Cup taking place with fans in October and November.

Announcing the reopening of stadiums to fans, albeit with social distancing measures in place, Morrison said he was "sure that will be very welcome".

Australia's biggest venues, such as the MCG, Docklands Stadium and Stadium Australia, may also soon be back open for business.

"For the larger ones I would venture that it would be the subject of a discrete approval for each venue, that would be worked up with the chief health officer in each state or territory," Morrison said.

"So, by the time you get into July there may be that type of opportunity for the rules that apply to those under 40,000 to just carry over to those above 40,000, but that is not a decision that has been taken yet.

"These will be practical, common-sense issues, they'll be worked through by the medical expert panel over the next few weeks and I think that will give it greater instruction.

"The purpose of me flagging this today is so sporting codes, venues, state and territory governments, can engage in that appropriate discussion, know broadly what the parameters are which the national cabinet has set, so it means that people will be able to watch the games, not as cardboard cutouts, but in person, should they be fortunate enough to get one of those seats."

Australia has had over 7,200 cases of COVID-19, with 102 deaths, and there are fewer than 500 current cases in the country, the government said.

Star forward Ola Toivonen has left A-League club Melbourne Victory to return to Europe.

Toivonen, 33, starred during almost two seasons with Victory after arriving in Australia in 2018 and the Swede is reportedly set to return to Malmo.

The veteran's departure from Victory was confirmed on Thursday, with the A-League season still unfinished due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Melbourne Victory," Toivonen said in a statement.

"Given everything that is happening in the world and in the league at the moment, we believe now is the right time for us to move back to Europe.

"Melbourne is a fantastic city and Victory is a very professional and well-run club. While we didn't achieve the success we had all hoped for over the past two years, it was a privilege to captain the club this season.

"I want to thank the members and fans who create a special atmosphere to play in front of, both at home and away games, and I have really enjoyed scoring goals and celebrating with you after our wins.

"Finally, I want to thank my team-mates and everyone that works at the club, all the football staff, the administration staff and the board. I hope the club is back challenging for titles next season."

Toivonen scored 29 goals in 49 games for Victory, including 25 in 40 appearances in the A-League.

Victory football operations manager Paul Trimboli paid tribute to Toivonen.

"On behalf of everyone at Melbourne Victory we would like to wish Ola and his family all the best for their move home to Europe," he said.

"We understand Ola's decision to return home and we thank him for his service and professionalism over the past two seasons at Victory.

"Ola is a world-class striker, and he's not only kept our members and fans entertained through his skill and finishing but it's also been great for our young players to watch and learn from a player of his calibre."

Toivonen played for Malmo between 2007 and 2009 before joining PSV, while spells at Rennes, Sunderland and Toulouse followed prior to his move to Australia.

The A-League season was suspended in March with Victory 10th in the table, and reports say it could be finished in August.

"When you play the first match in old San Mames, you can say that you can die, it's crazy."

Born in Eibar – around a 50km journey to Bilbao in the Basque Country – Markel Susaeta epitomised what it meant to play for Athletic Bilbao.

Susaeta spent the majority of his career at Athletic, where he made 507 appearances – only four players in the history of the club have managed more, Jose Angel Iribar (614), Jose Francisco Rojo (541), Joseba Etxeberria (514) and Andoni Iraola (510).

The Spanish winger even wore the captain's armband and won the Supercopa de Espana in 2015 before departing his beloved Athletic in 2019, having first donned the iconic red and white stripes in 2007.

Susaeta made his goalscoring senior debut away to Barcelona 13 years ago and stepped out onto Sam Mames for the first time a fortnight later, scoring a free-kick in a 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza.

"When you play the first match, you are in heaven. You never thought you could play in that stadium and the supporters are amazing – always helping the team," Susaeta told Stats Perform News.

Athletic are a team who continue to play by their own rules. The Basque-only policy has captivated football and the sporting world, with Los Leones only picking players from one region since 1912.

Despite football's transformation by globalisation, Athletic remain defiant to their roots – only those born or raised in the Basque Country, which is made up of four provinces in north-east Spain and three in south-west France, eligible to represent the club. Rivals Real Sociedad operated a similar policy until 1989.

While it may come across as a disadvantage, limiting Athletic in the transfer market, the Spanish team have never been relegated from LaLiga while adhering to the famed policy. They have lost stars over the years, but the region continues to be a breeding ground for talent.

"For the kids of Basque Country, Real Sociedad, Athletic, many, many kids… I think more kids want to play for Athletic Bilbao," Susaeta said. "When you go to the first division, all the players, it's difficult to keep all the players at Athletic because all the players aren't the same, different things for their future. Kepa [Arrizabalaga] went to Chelsea, [Ander] Herrera went to Manchester United, [Fernando] Llorente went to Juventus, Javi Martinez Bayern Munich.

"Many players they went to other big clubs but a lot of players, more than the players that go, they stay at Athletic. For that reason, Athletic in the last 12-13 years, play very good football, a very good level. One year we played in the Champions League, we won one Supercopa, we played in three, four finals for the Copa del Rey. It's very difficult but Athletic always does things well."

"Athletic are the most special team in the world for me, what can I say? The philosophy that the people that aren't from Basque Country, they love Athletic's philosophy because it's different to other teams from the world," Susaeta added. "The kids love Athletic, they only like Athletic Bilbao. They don't like Barcelona, Madrid, they like Athletic Bilbao. This love is different than the other clubs."

Susaeta is an example of Athletic's production line, which is now headlined by the likes of young stars Inaki Williams and Unai Nunez. The 32-year-old Susaeta came through the ranks, spending one season with farm team Basconia and another with the B team before being thrust into the first-team picture in 2007.

The one-time Spain international was a vital member of Athletic's stunning Supercopa de Espana triumph under former boss Ernesto Valverde five years ago – a 5-1 two-legged rout of Barca ending a 31-year wait for silverware.

A three-time Copa del Rey finalist, Susaeta also experienced Athletic's unforgettable journey to the 2012 Europa League final, with Marcelo Bielsa at the helm.

"With Marcelo, you play a very intense football. He always wants to play the ball, for example, he likes man-marking. It's a little bit crazy to keep the whole season with man-marking. We spent two years with him but with Marcelo, it was the best football I ever played," Susaeta said as he compared the two coaches.

"With Valverde, we played in the Champions League. It's more difficult because after Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid, it's a very crazy season. With Valverde, you're more regular in defending and attacking, all the team go together. It's different. But the best football, the more attractive football that I ever played was with Bielsa."

Athletic lost the all-Spanish Europa League decider in 2012, beaten 3-0 by Atletico Madrid in Bucharest. While Bielsa's men left Arena Nationala emptyhanded, their campaign was a memorable one, having outclassed Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the last 16 – a shock 3-2 victory at Old Trafford the highlight.

It was a famous win for Athletic, who came from behind to record a first win on English soil and Susaeta said: "It's the one of the most important matches in my life. We played at Old Trafford and we played amazing football. That morning, with Bielsa, we trained for two hours, doing sprints. It was crazy.

"In the evening, we won playing amazing football. It was a very good memories because that year we won against very good European clubs but in the final we were tired, I don't know what happened but we couldn't win the final."

Susaeta was also fortunate to play in both the old San Mames and new San Mames, which opened in 2013.

"In the old San Mames, I played my first match, in that stadium, we played very good football with Bielsa – a crazy year with two finals," he added. "In the other San Mames, we played in the Champions League. In the two stadiums, I have very good memories. They are two very special stadiums."

Susaeta now finds himself playing for Melbourne City in Australia after a difficult spell with Japanese giants Gamba Osaka.

A January arrival, Susaeta had scored two goals and set up another for City – part of the City Football Group (CFG) – before the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about a possible Athletic return after his unceremonious exit last year, Susaeta replied: "I don't want to see the future, I want to live the present. I'm very happy in Melbourne and Australia, it's a very good country and city. I'm very happy with my club and team-mates. My family is happy here and we want to stay here longer. Now it's very crazy the situation but I hope we can train again in a few weeks and finish the season in a few months.

"Japan was very difficult for me and my family because many things are different. Here we feel very good, we feel happy. My kids are happy in childcare. Here everything is perfect. I'm very happy in the football. For me, it's perfect. I'm very happy here and I hope I can stay here more years."

Melbourne City star Markel Susaeta believes the reported proposal of 32 matches in 36 days to complete the 2019-20 A-League season is "a little bit dangerous" following the coronavirus outbreak.

The A-League has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Australia's premier club competition is planning to return in July.

On Thursday, Football Federation Australia (FFA) unveiled its schedule, with the campaign to resume in mid-July and wrap up within a month – provided broadcasters sign off on the plans.

The A-League had 27 regular-season fixtures remaining at the time of postponement and City winger Susaeta is wary of injuries during a jam-packed blitz.

"I think it's a little bit dangerous for the football players," Susaeta told Stats Perform News.

"In the Bundesliga, in the first matches many injured players. It's normal because if you prepare in three weeks, in one month you have more possibilities of injuries if you prepare like normal.

"But there are many team-mates ready to play if one football player has pain."

Western United captain and former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti recently told Stats Perform News players would need a month of training to be ready for the resumption of the A-League.

Athletic Bilbao great Susaeta said: "Normally in Spain, it is one-month-and-a-half maybe but I think if you prepare good in one month you can play again.

"I hope me and my team-mates in one month, we will be perfect for the final matches."

City were performing well prior to the suspension, sitting second in the table and eight points behind leaders Sydney FC, though they had played three more matches.

Susaeta – who made over 500 appearances for Athletic, where he won the 2015 Supercopa de Espana against Barcelona and was part of the club's run to the 2012 Europa League final – swapped Gamba Osaka for City in January.

The 32-year-old Spaniard had scored two goals and set up another for Erick Mombaert's City before the season came to a halt.

"I felt very sad because in that moment we were playing very good football, winning difficult matches," Susaeta added.

"We felt we could win against anyone but it is the situation – the situation is crazy for the world especially and football also.

"We have to wait and I hope in two-three weeks we can start training again and in July we can start the A-League."

The 2019-20 A-League season is set to resume in mid-July following the coronavirus-enforced break, provided broadcasters sign off on the plans.

The spread of the global pandemic meant the competition was put on hold back in March, a month before the regular season was due to conclude, with teams having between three and six games remaining.

While the top leagues in France and the Netherlands have been cancelled, the A-League has remained committed to restarting the season and unveiled their schedule for doing so on Thursday.

However, the final proposal, which would see the league and finals series wrapped up within a month, needs to be approved by broadcasters.

Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson said: "Ideally mid-June will see players return to training, allowing them to reach the required elite level of fitness for competitive matches to commence by mid-July, and for the A-League finals series to be completed by mid-August.

"The proposed timing will mean that the culmination of the A-League will coincide with the restart of Australian grassroots football, connecting the professional game and our two million participants like never before."

On needing approval from broadcasters before signing off on the plan, Johnson added: "That's the final piece of the jigsaw and once we have it in place we can move forward quickly."

When the season was halted back in March, Sydney FC had an eight-point lead over Melbourne City with three games in hand.

Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti believes players need a month of training to be ready for the resumption of the A-League season.

Clubs and players are reportedly anticipating a return to play in August after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic in March.

The A-League had 27 regular-season fixtures remaining when it was suspended, with newcomers Western United sixth through 20 matches.

As Australia eases restrictions, former Italy international Diamanti told Stats Perform: "Training in the park alone is not like doing it in a group with a ball between your feet.

"Maybe you won't need like a summer training preparation but almost. Things would change because we are going to play many games in a few days to end the league as soon as possible.

"We would need a month to be able to perform for 90 minutes."

"I have always been positive this situation would be sorted and the league would restart soon. I want to finish this season with my team-mates," added Diamanti when asked if the thought about returning to Italy during the COVID-19 crisis. "As I say, everything will go, good things and bad ones too."

It has been a confronting experience for Diamanti away from the pitch in Australia following devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 outbreak since arriving from Serie B side Livorno in July.

While Australia has managed to contain the spread of coronavirus, the former Brescia, Bologna, Fiorentina and Atalanta attacker has been forced to watch his native Italy struggle.

More than 31,000 people have succumbed to COVID-19 in Italy, while Australia has registered just 98 deaths.

"Here in Melbourne we have been luckier, if I can say that, than in Europe because numbers [of casualties] are not comparable but we had to stay home," said the 37-year-old, who took the A-League by storm prior to the hiatus with give goals and seven assists.

"I lived it differently because I watch the news on Sky Italy, I have parents and friends in Italy and I had news two or three weeks before than here where everything was still normal. So I lived it in a different and more worried way. 

"Here there has never been a lockdown so I could go every day to the park to train and do all the work out a professional athlete has to do when a league to finish is looming. Then I purchased a stand bike at home where I do my gym and strength work out but every morning I go out to train in these beautiful parks."

Adelaide United head coach Gertjan Verbeek has left the club by mutual consent.

The 57-year-old, who was contracted until the end of the 2020-21 season, requested to be released after returning home to the Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic.

Verbeek, who was in charge for less than a year, led Adelaide to a third FFA Cup triumph last October with a 4-0 win over Melbourne City in the final.

"Given a number of reasons, such as the global health problems, future of the league, difficult financial situation of the club and the need to protect and care for my family, my future as head coach at Adelaide United was insecure," he said in a statement published by the club.

"Based on the uncertain period we are currently in, we mutually agreed to end the contract after one season.

"I would like to thank the Adelaide United fans for supporting me and the team through this period. It was a great triumph to win the FFA Cup this season and I'm very proud of this accomplishment.

"The coronavirus has made it a very difficult and insecure situation for everyone, but I hope the team, the staff, and everyone's families all remain safe and healthy during these challenging times."

Chairman Piet van der Pol added: "We are grateful for Gertjan's hard work and for what he did for our football club over the past 10-or-so months.

"Not only has he given some of our young players a chance at professional football, he also helped guide us to our third FFA Cup trophy.

"I would like to thank Gertjan for everything he has done at Adelaide United, and, on behalf of the club, our members and supporters, and our partners, wish him the best for his future."

Adelaide have also decided against renewing the contract of performance coach Gerald Sibon.

The A-League, which was suspended in March, is not expected to resume until at least June.

West Ham and Crystal Palace's pre-season fixtures in Australia have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League clubs and A-League outfit Brisbane Roar were due to play in Queensland in July ahead of the 2020-21 season.

However, those fixtures were unsurprisingly postponed on Wednesday due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 177,000 people worldwide.

"It is a real shame that we will no longer be able to make it over to Queensland this summer, however, it is the right decision to postpone given the circumstances," West Ham manager David Moyes said in a statement.

"The players and I were really looking forward to seeing our fans and the people of Australia, especially as there was great excitement and support for the tournament.

"This is a situation that has affected the entire world, though, and the only thing that matters at this time is that people stay safe and well.

"We hope the tournament can be rearranged at a later date once things are back to normal, and we look forward to visiting Australia in the future."

Australia has seen more than 6,600 coronavirus cases, including 74 deaths.

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