Opening rounds of new A-League season reshuffled after COVID-19 outbreak

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Football Australia (FA) have reshuffled the fixtures for the early rounds of the new A-League season, which starts on Sunday, as an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Sydney means inter-state matches are unable to be played.

The outbreak, centred on Sydney's northern beaches, grew to 90 cases on Tuesday and has prompted other states to close their borders.

Travel restrictions require people coming from New South Wales to spend two weeks in isolation when they enter a different state.

"We've mapped out the next month in light of the latest restrictions," FA's head of leagues Greg O'Rourke said in a statement.

"We gained a significant amount of knowledge from the staging of the 2019/20 season which enabled us to move quickly and respond to these latest changes."

New Zealand's Wellington Phoenix, who are basing themselves south of Sydney in Wollongong for the new season, were due to play Brisbane Roar on Dec. 29 in Queensland in the opening match for both sides.

The Roar, however, will now host Melbourne City at Redcliffe while the Phoenix will open their season against champions Sydney FC in Wollongong on Jan. 2.

The reshuffle ensures New South Wales based teams play each other. Teams based outside of NSW can play each other without border restrictions.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)