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Cricket Australia hopeful for fully vaccinated crowds at the Ashes

CA chief executive Nick Hockley hopeful to give assurances to England players in the coming weeks about families being allowed to tour

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Vaccine passports could be needed in Australia to attend the Ashes  •  Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Vaccine passports could be needed in Australia to attend the Ashes  •  Cricket Australia/Getty Images

The Ashes could become the first sporting event in Australia where fans will require a vaccine passport to attend as Cricket Australia hopes for full crowds for all five Test matches.
CA is also hoping to give assurances to the ECB and the England players in the coming weeks that some family members will be able to accompany them to Australia for the lengthy tour.
During a round of media interviews on Wednesday CA chief executive Nick Hockley was bullish the Ashes would go ahead as planned despite the current Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne causing lockdowns and interstate border closures.
Australia's vaccination rates are fast improving and Hockley believes that will be the key to getting full crowds back for all five Test matches. Any vaccine passport scheme would be a decision taken at government level but a close eye is being kept on what other countries are doing.
"I think that's where we will work closely with the health authorities, with the venues, and certainly we obviously want full crowds," Hockley told SEN. "We want crowds back and enjoying the cricket and that's something we will work through over the coming months and as we have done throughout the last couple of months we'll take our lead from the health authorities. We remain extremely optimistic."
Hockley was confident the schedule would remain in place without the need to shuffle Test matches to different venues due to some of the strict state border restrictions that are currently in place.
He was also confident that England players would be able to bring family members to Australia, although the final decision does hinge on the Australian government as international borders remain closed with restrictions on those who can enter and strict quarantine rules upon entry. There have been reports that a number of players could withdraw from the tour. It is unlikely there will be any loosening of the 14-day quarantine period by November although ways of accommodating the England squad that allows some freedom is being explored.
"Our hope is that over the course of the coming weeks we'll be able to provide the assurance that the plans we'll have in place will provide them with the comfort that they'll have a great experience and for those that want to bring family members that they can," Hockley said.
"Ultimately it will be their decision as to who they'll bring but as we said we're working extremely constructively with the ECB. We've all got a huge amount of experience now in what this takes and the plans and the intricacy of the plans. We're very much working in partnership with the ECB and giving them full knowledge of what they can expect when they arrive in Australia."
Australia's men's domestic season was scheduled to begin on Saturday with a set of one-day Marsh Cup games but those matches are expected to be postponed until later in the season as New South Wales and Victoria remain in lockdown, with players from both states unable to travel elsewhere at the moment.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo