The Sydney Kings’ preparations for the 2021/2022 season have been thrown into disarray after a player tested positive to Covid, forcing the suspension of training.
The Sydney Kings have suspended pre-season training, effective immediately, following a positive Covid test within the playing group.
The Kings informed the NBL on Thursday that currently one player has returned a positive test.
The player was tested and immediately self-isolated once they displayed symptoms.
All players and essential staff who are deemed close contacts will now be tested and self-isolate in adherence with NSW Health protocols.
The majority of the playing group and staff are either fully vaccinated or have had their first shot.
The Kings have been permitted to commence pre-season training in line with strict protocols outlined by the NBL, NSW Health, and the NSW Office of Sport guidelines for high-performance and professional sport.
The group has been diligent in enforcing these protocols.
Kings CEO Chris Pongrass says the players’ health will come first, but he is confident the club can overcome this Covid hurdle and resume to the training court before the start of the season on November 18.
“Our primary concern is for the health and wellbeing of our players, staff and their families and ensuring that we adhere to NSW Health regulations to mitigate any further risk to the wider community,” Pongrass said.
“We will continue to work with the NBL and NSW Health to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff.
“While this is another hurdle for our playing group, we are resilient and our preparations for NBL22 continue; we look forward to being back out on court in front of our fans at Qudos Bank Arena in the coming months for what will be an exciting season.”
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger and the league will work closely with Sydney and the relevant health authorities to ensure all protocols are followed with the health and wellbeing of those impacted and the community a priority.
Loeliger said the NBL won’t force players to be vaccinated, but stressed there will be ramifications if a player or official opts not to be jabbed.
“At this point, we are not going to mandate vaccinations for players, coaches and staff, but we will continue to educate our people and will strongly recommend it,” Loeliger said.
“It may be that those who don‘t get vaccinated won’t be able to travel between states and countries, or even enter certain venues, and therefore won’t be able to participate in some games when the season begins.
“Individuals that decide not to get vaccinated could be subjected to different rules depending on various government protocols and restrictions.”
Originally published as Sydney Kings training suspended after player tests positive to Covid