No Roar return for Fowler ahead of A-League restart

FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Quarter Finals and Semi Finals Draw - Nyon, Switzerland - March 15, 2019 Liverpool club ambassador Robbie Fowler before the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former England striker Robbie Fowler will not be returning to take charge of Brisbane Roar when the A-League season restarts next month, the Australian club said on Monday.

The Liverpool great and his assistant Tony Grant went home to England in March when the season was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are disappointed that the global pandemic has impacted our plans together but completely understand that family comes first during these difficult times," vice-chairman Chris Fong said in a statement.

"Robbie has not only provided stability but a refreshing injection of knowledge and insight into the Roar."

Fong earlier told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that Welsh assistant coach Darren Davies and the club's academy manager Warren Moon would share coaching duties on a caretaker basis and that the next permanent coach would be Australian.

Fowler only had the experience of the 2011-12 season as player-coach at Thai club Muangthong United on his CV when he took over at the Roar at the start of the season.

He led the club, which had finished second bottom the previous season, to fourth place when matches were suspended with six rounds of the regular season and the championship playoffs remaining.

"On behalf of myself and Tony, I would like to thank the club for the opportunity, and the Brisbane Roar fans for the warm welcome and support for me and the team. We are very proud of what we achieved," Fowler said in the statement.

Australia has been relatively successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 but travel restrictions between states remain in place and anyone arriving from abroad is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days.

The A-League will resume behind closed doors on July 16 with the regular season to be wrapped up by the end of August.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing Peter Rutherford)

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