Perth’s Optus Stadium will not host fifth Ashes Test after COVID impasse

Western Australia has been stripped of hosting rights for the fifth Ashes Test after the state government hit an impasse with Cricket Australia over COVID-19 quarantine requirements.

A new host for the match, which was to be held at Perth’s Optus Stadium on January 14-18, has not been announced.

“We did everything we could in partnership with the WA government and WA Cricket to make it work under the current border and health arrangements, but unfortunately this was not possible,” Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement on Monday.

“We are particularly disappointed for Western Australian cricket fans who were so looking forward to seeing the first ever Ashes Test at the new stadium.”

Hobart and Melbourne are believed to be in the running to host the series finale.

On Monday, Queensland Sports Minister Stirling Hinchliffe threw the Gabba forward as an option to hold a second Test this summer, ahead of Wednesday’s start to the first test at the venue.

Throughout the pandemic, Queensland has stepped in to host major sporting events, including an AFL grand final, NRL grand final and State of Origin clashes, while other states were stricken with COVID.

WA is slated to host one other international this summer – a ODI involving New Zealand on January 30.

That series-opener would also likely be subject to biosecurity arrangements.

West Australian Sports Minister Tony Buti had made a last-ditch play for the second Test to be taken to the state, pushing for a swap with Adelaide.

His plan had centred around both teams heading to Perth from Brisbane without quarantine requirements, given the two states remain open to each other.

South Australia rejected the proposal.