Perth will not host the fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England because of its tough Covid-19 quarantine rules.
A decision on the new venue for the Test, scheduled to start on 14 January, is yet to be made with Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney all keen to play host.
It means that Perth will go without a Test for the second year running after also missing out last season due to Covid-19, which robbed it of a proposed historic first Test between Australia and Afghanistan.
“We are very disappointed that we are unable to stage the fifth men’s Ashes Test at Perth Stadium,” said Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley, ahead of the start of the Ashes in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“We did everything we could in partnership with the WA [Western Australia state] government and WA Cricket to make it work under the current border and health arrangements, but unfortunately this was not possible.”
There had been suggestions that some of Western Australia’s tough Covid restrictions would be relaxed for the cricketers, but the emergence of the new Omicron variant complicated matters.
Last week state premier Mark McGowan said WA’s hardline quarantine rules would remain, meaning players travelling from the fourth Test in Sydney would have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.
The decision to dump Perth came after an audacious last-minute bid by the West Australian city to swap its Test match with Adelaide’s, which a state senior government official called a “no-brainer”.
Adelaide is due to host the second Test from 16 December after the opener in Brisbane this week.
Travellers from Brisbane do not need to quarantine when arriving in Perth and state sport and recreation minister Tony Buti earlier on Monday said it made sense to change the order of venues.
“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 said.
The suggestion brought a swift response from the South Australian Cricket Association, which issued a stern rebuke.
The Ashes are currently scheduled to be played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, before the fifth Test.