It’s a mess but United boss backs O’Rourke
United has to fit six matches in to the reduced time frame, with nine fewer days than it would have had if kicking off on Thursday. City has three games to play and Victory, which is second last on the ALeague table, has five.
It’s understood the three squads will stay in the same hotel in Sydney’s west during the quarantine period, and use Fairfield’s Marconi Stadium and Blacktown’s Valentine Park for training.
O’Rourke has taken the blame for the problems, with the three teams having been at Melbourne airport on Monday and Tuesday ready to fly across the border, only to be return home because of fog and half-baked travel exemptions. On Thursday night, O’Rourke said the mishaps could cost him his job.
However, Pehlivanis doesn’t want O’Rourke to be made a scapegoat, saying there was a collective blame.
“People shouldn’t lose jobs over a mistake,” he said.
“It’s not life or death. It’s not just his fault, it’s everyone’s fault. The guy had a written agreement for us to leave the next day, and then everything changes on him, so it’s not totally his fault.”
However, Pehlivanis said clubs needed to be listened to, claiming the situation could have been avoided had United’s wish to leave for NSW last weekend been granted.
“If we had left early then none of this would happened,” he said.
Victory chief executive Trent Jacobs said the events of Monday and Tuesday nights had been “incredibly frustrating and compromised our players and staff”.
“While our club was disappointed with what transpired, we have remained focused on working together with FFA and the Victorian clubs to find a solution,” he said.