The ACT government is confident it can maintain ties with the FFA despite a hardline stance blocking Victorian A-League clubs from flying into Canberra to escape COVID-19 hotspots.
Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United banked on flying into Canberra and then travelling to NSW when possible in a bid to get out of Victoria following a spike in coronavirus cases.
They converged on Tullamarine Airport as one with the intention of flying into the ACT before borders were shut in the hope of relaunching their A-League campaign next week.
But they were sent home after being told they would have to quarantine for 14 days and would not be able to train in that period.
The ACT government's hardline stance follows its withdrawal from the FFA's successful joint-bid to host the 2023 FIFA women's World Cup due to "exorbitant" costs, however the FFA moved to say the figures presented publicly were off the mark.
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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is confident the decision won't strain ties with the FFA, labelling the bid to have Victorian clubs travel to NSW via Canberra as "very odd".
"I don't think so, my starting point in all of this was 'why were they flying into Canberra in the first place? They're not playing here'," Barr said.
"The games are in Sydney, there isn't a Canberra team in the A-League, so it just struck me as a very odd way to get into NSW.
"I don't know why the A-League teams who are playing in Sydney would need to come into NSW via Canberra. It was odd, it struck me as odd from the beginning.
"We weren't going to grant an exemption for footballers. We've been through this movie, we've seen this film before, haven't we?
"We've been very clear about this from the start, that we weren't going to have people coming out of hotspots in Melbourne. It's not just the footballers, it's the entire entourage.
"It just wasn't going to work. They were going to have to go into quarantine like everyone else, and that didn't work for them. They need to get to Sydney, they don't need to be in Canberra."
Canberra's coronavirus restrictions were expected to ease on Friday before the region recorded three new COVID-19 cases for the first time in more than a month.
Players and staff from each of the Victorian clubs met on Tuesday evening and boarded buses en route to the airport for a flight to Canberra.
But word soon filtered through the players and staff would have to quarantine for 14 days in Canberra and not be able to train in that time.
The clubs opted against travelling on Tuesday night and will instead stay in Melbourne as they await the NSW government's verdict on exemptions.
The ACT government had already effectively ruled itself out of being used as an AFL hub when Barr declared Victorian clubs would not be granted exemptions from quarantine rules.
All 10 Victorian clubs have been forced out of their home state and into Queensland, Western Australia or NSW.
However Barr is open to having Victorian AFL clubs play matches in Canberra once they have spent two weeks out of their home state, with negotiations ongoing to host GWS Giants matches at Manuka Oval this season.