Tennis Australia (TA) has clarified the organisation is covering quarantine costs for the players and staff after concerns were raised of preferential treatment that implied it was coming from Victorian taxpayers.
The sports governing body released a statement late Wednesday correcting previous comments made by Australia Open Director Craig Tiley on 3AW earlier that morning the Victorian government will “absolutely” help with hotel costs.
In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, a spokesperson for TA said: “Tennis Australia is funding the AO quarantine program.”
They also clarified that the state government “support” mentioned by Tiley was concerning a possible “extension to the agreement to host the AO in Melbourne and a range of other assets to help promote the city and the state, domestically and internationally.”
Originally Tiley had said that funding hotel quarantine arrangements for around 1,200 players and staff would cost the TA over $40 million, in addition to running costs.
“[How much] is still to be determined because we’re still in the middle of that. Probably the end of next week or the week after we’ll know exactly,” he noted.
Pressed further on quarantine arrangements, he said: “yes, absolutely,” when asked if the Andrews government will help with the bill.
However the Victorian government quickly refuted the claims with the Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville saying she triple checked, and there is no state quarantine subsiding in the arrangement.
“I want to be very clear—hotel quarantine is fully funded by Tennis Australia,” she said in a press conference hours after Tiley’s radio interview. “We do support the Australian Open as an event, as we do all major events, but that is separate to the hotel quarantine program.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also reiterated this at a COVID-19 update on Thursday.
“We are not paying for hotel quarantine. There are some other costs we are assisting in the meeting of, because of the rescheduling of the tournament,” Andrews said. “And the specific COVID nature of the tournament.”
Tiley noted additional costs for this year’s event would use up much of Tennis Australia’s $80 million reserves. On average he said, the two-week competition brings in around $370 million, and generates 12,500 jobs.
So far 10 people connected to the AO have tested COVID-19 positive leading to everyone onboard their flights forced into quarantine. This has seen 72 players sent into 14 days hard quarantine.
“We had seven positive cases, none of which are players, and this morning we became aware of three more positives, and they will be reported tomorrow,” Neville said.