Australia might have dealt with the coronavirus crisis a lot better than many other countries around the world, but lockdown conditions have had an impact on international sports teams.
Closing Australia’s borders has made it very difficult for planned international sports events to go ahead as planned, though some national competitions have been able to continue.
With under 1,000 people having died of COVID-19 in Australia to date, it is fair to argue that lockdown has been a success, but it has undoubtedly come at a cost.
A second wave of infections has delayed the potential introduction of quarantine-free travel, while it is not expected the US and Europe will be included when the rules are relaxed.
International rugby finally returns with New Zealand match
After a wait of more than six months, international rugby recently returned with Australia travelling to New Zealand for a Bledisloe Cup game that ended in a 16-16 draw.
In order to be allowed into New Zealand, the Australian team and their wide-ranging support staff had to agree to a two-week quarantine period.
There were over 30,000 fans at the stadium in Wellington and even more people are expected to attend the next game in the series at Eden Park in Auckland.
While the return to action for Australia’s rugby team is to be welcomed, progress in continuing to put on sports events is not expected to be smooth.
Australia has won the rights to hold the Rugby Championship as New Zealand lost out despite being the favourites. But South Africa are yet to confirm they will be taking part in the tournament, which is scheduled to run from October 31 to December 5.
The Rugby Championship is in doubt as a result, while a range of other competitions and scheduled events have already been postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
It was announced in July that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 will no longer be taking place in Australia this year, with the event switched to India in 2021. It is planned that another Men’s T20 World Cup will instead be held during October and November 2022 in Australia.
Also in cricket, this year’s Big Bash is set to be played as usual but it is unclear whether or not some of the world’s best cricketers will be able to travel to Australia in order to take part.
Sports betting affected by cancellations
Australians love to gamble, but various sports postponements and cancellations have reduced the options available over the course of 2020.
This means that Aussies might have been on the lookout for alternatives to sports betting, though one piece of research suggested there was an increase in online betting activity on Australian sporting events early in the lockdown.
Indeed, a report that was recently released by the Australian Gambling Research Centre found that one in three people signed up for a new online betting account during COVID-19.
“Horse racing, sports betting, greyhound racing and lotto were the main products that participants gambled on before and during COVID-19,” said the study.
With limited sporting action available, more and more Australians could be tempted to explore the online casinos that can be accessed in the country instead.
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There is the opportunity to play online slots for free, which gives Australians a chance to test them out before deciding whether or not they are going to play with real money.
What is next for Australian international sports teams?
The calendar remains in a state of flux for Australian international sports teams as federations try to plot a route through the coronavirus crisis.
Although they toured England recently, Australia’s men’s cricket team does not have any future fixtures scheduled at the current time. The same is true for the women’s team after their recent crushing victory over New Zealand made it 21 ODI wins in a row for Meg Lanning’s side.
Australia’s men’s football team has not played a competitive game for almost a year and their planned qualifiers for the World Cup and Asian Cup have been delayed until 2021.
Sports fans will be eagerly awaiting more news, but for now most people involved in Australian international teams are also stuck in some form of lockdown.