Sport Wellington A-League match cancelled due to quake damage

Wellington A-League match cancelled due to quake damage

Football Federation of Australia.
Football Federation of Australia.

Saturday’s A-League match between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory in the New Zealand capital has been postponed because of damage caused to the venue by Monday’s earthquake, Football Federation Australia said on Tuesday.

FFA made the decision on the advice of the owners of the Wellington Regional Stadium, known for commercial purposes as Westpac Stadium, who nonetheless said the 34,400-seat arena had been cleared of “major structural damage”.

“The stadium closed its doors yesterday as a precautionary measure following the Kaikoura … earthquake early on Monday morning,” said a Westpac Stadium news release.

“The internal concourse and seating bowl remain closed until repairs have been completed. These repairs are expected to take two weeks to complete.

“As a result, Football Federation of Australia in consultation with the Wellington Phoenix and the Stadium, has made the decision to postpone this weekend’s A-league fixture between the Phoenix and Melbourne Victory.”

The 7.8-magnitude tremor struck just after midnight on Sunday, destroying farm homesteads, sending glass and masonry toppling from high rises in Wellington and cutting road and rail links. Two people died.

Damage to the harbourside stadium included burst water pipes, concrete cracking, broken windows and “some liquefaction” on the road around the venue, which hosts rugby internationals and rock concerts in addition to Phoenix games.

“Our engineers have said that the building has performed as expected,” said stadium chief executive Shane Harmon.

“The damage is similar in nature to that incurred during the July 2013 earthquake and we’re confident that it can be repaired.”

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