Cricket Australia's move to lobby government to allow English cricketers' family into the country for the Ashes this winter has caused outrage in the country as families of 38,000 Aussies trapped abroad cry foul play.
There had been serious concern over the English players boycotting the tour given that for many of them, it would mean not seeing their partners and children for over four months.
In an attempt to ensure the Ashes goes ahead, Cricket Australia has reportedly promised the players that they will be allowed special exemptions from the Covid-19 policies which have left international borders closed since March 2020.
Foreign citizens are currently completely banned from entering without exceptional circumstances, while even Australians who live abroad have found it difficult to return as a result of the very strict weekly caps on arrivals.
Cricket Australia, like most country's governing bodies of the sport, are heavily reliant on test matches and the lucrative broadcasting deals it brings for income, and the cancellation of the famous Ashes could potentially leave the organisation on the brink of bankruptcy.
According to inews, English players and their families could be exempt from bio-bubble requirements as long as they adhere to Covid-19 safety rules.
Such rules would involve only leaving hotels in groups of three or four, divided by bowlers and batsmen in order to minimise any potential issues if somewhere a family or team-mates attended was exposed to the virus.
Families of the 38,000 Australians who are currently stranded outside the country are understandably furious with the decision. Many have accused the government and Home Affairs ministry of prioritising money and entertainment over reuniting families.
One tweet on the matter read: "Absolutely disgusting. Australian families should come first. Sports second. This is absolute nonsense from the Australian government."
Some of those who are complaining admit to being big cricket fans, but still think the decision is wrong. One such person wrote: "I also love the cricket as much as the next person and I think in these times sport plays an important role for crisis solidarity. But this? No. To be clear, I don’t hold it against the cricketers nor their families. But once more the Australian government is contemptible."
Australia's borders are unlikely to be opened again until at least mid-2022 as a result of the slow vaccine rollout and
Mental health in sport has been thrust into the spotlight recently, with England cricketer Ben Stokes one of many in the world of sport to withdraw from competition in order to concentrate on his mental health.
The prospect of England players spending long periods away from families and stuck inside bio-bubbles- the mental health impact of which is worrying- is extremely concerning to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Any player who takes part in the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and then the Ashes was likely to be out of the UK for that four month period of time.
The ECB are set to raise the prospect of cancelling the Ashes in discussions later this month with Cricket Australia.
England are set to take on India in the second test at Lord's on Thursday.
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