Perth makes bid to switch Ashes Test with Adelaide
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Perth launched an audacious last-minute bid to swap its Ashes cricket Test with Adelaide Monday to avoid Covid quarantine issues, with a senior government official calling it a "no-brainer".
The Western Australian city appears certain to be dumped as host of what could be a pivotal fifth and final Test between Australia and England in January due to its strict border rules.
There had been suggestions that some of its tough Covid restrictions would be relaxed for the cricketers, but the emergence of the new Omicron variant has complicated matters.
Last week Premier Mark McGowan said the state's hardline quarantine rules would remain, meaning players travelling from the fourth Test in Sydney would have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.
Western Australia, however, currently has no such requirement for travellers from Brisbane, where the first Test starts on Wednesday.
The state's Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti proposed moving the second day-night Test, due to start in Adelaide on December 16, to Perth despite thousands of tickets already sold.
"If cricket isn't able to meet our border rules for the fifth Test in Perth, then they should move the second Test to Perth instead. It's a no-brainer," he told the West Australian newspaper.
"As long as Queensland stays Covid-free then the teams can fly straight to Perth after the Brisbane Test. Then no one will need to worry about quarantine and Covid protocols."
"Adelaide can then host the fifth Test originally scheduled for Perth," he added.
A decision on the fate of the fifth Test is expected this week, with Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney all in contention to play host if Perth is axed.
The Ashes are currently scheduled to be played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney before Perth.