A-League champs Sydney eye ACL campaign

Sydney FC are preparing for their Asian Champions League campaign in Qatar but are working to secure a quarantine training exemption upon their return.

STEVE CORICA.
STEVE CORICA. Picture: Don Arnold/Getty Images

A-League champions Sydney FC may reconsider their Asian Champions League travel plans if they don't receive an exemption to train together in quarantine.

The Sky Blues, along with Melbourne Victory and Perth, are set to play their remaining east zone group stage fixtures of the COVID-affected competition in a hub in Qatar next month.

All three A-League clubs are understood to be seeking training exemptions for after their return.

At the earliest, Sydney's campaign could finish on December 4 but if they make it out of the group stage an even later return to Australia looms.

With the 2020-21 A-League season kicking off on December 27, Sydney coach Steve Corica is concerned the imposition of a standard 14-day hotel quarantine on the team's return could leave his players facing an unacceptable risk of injury.

Corica admits the club may reconsider travelling to the ACL at all if they are unable to get a clearance to train together while in quarantine.

"That wouldn't be very good preparation for anyone," Corica told AAP.

"We're working through that now with the government - the club's looking after that - but I'm pretty sure we'll be able to come back here, quarantine and train as well.

"That's going to be a big factor, of course, whether we can do that (as to) whether we go or not ... (without an exemption) we'd have to consider if it's worthwhile going.

"It's not really safe for the players to come back here, (quarantine for) two weeks, not train and then go straight into the A-League season."

The timing also means that if the Sky Blues progress to the round of 16, then win through to the quarter-finals, scheduled for December 10, they are all but guaranteed to spend Christmas in quarantine.

The west region group stage was previously hit by coronavirus, despite strict biosecurity measures.

Al-Wahda pulled out before the resumption after several members of the UAE club tested positive, while Saudi powerhouse Al-Hilal withdrew from the tournament after they were unable to field a full team for their final group stage match due to a coronavirus outbreak in the hub.

Sydney captain and PFA president Alex Wilkinson emphasised the importance of ensuring players weren't put at risk.

"Our club's doing its own homework to make sure the players and staff are going to be safe and minimise the risk of any infection," he told AAP.

"But obviously watching the west region take place and seeing a couple of the teams had to pull out because of COVID - whether they came in with it or not - it's a little bit concerning I guess that the teams managed to get it while they were in the bubble.

"I'm sure that stuff will get sorted out - that's sort of out of our hands in a way - and once it does, then we can concentrate on just going there and putting in a good performance."