by Ian Howe
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys says his organisation is still a long way from signing a participation agreement for this autumn’s World Cup, despite the announcement last week that the tournament will definitely be going ahead this year.
“We are a long way from being in a position to commit,” said V’landys, even though the other participating nations are thought to have already signed participation agreements.
And V’landys is being urged by a majority of the NRL clubs not to sign the agreement.
NRL clubs are concerned that the tournament could take too much out of players and could be dangerous, given the ubiquity of the delta variant of Covid-19 that is currently affecting a growing number of people in England.
NRL and ARLC officials have demanded tournament organisers fulfil a number of conditions – including financial guarantees and a raft of safety assurances – before taking the matter to the clubs, players and players’ union.
“The most important thing for us is the safety of the players,” V’landys said.
“Unless we are totally and utterly satisfied that our players will be safe, we cannot commit.
“We have other questions about the financial situation. We also have concerns about the quarantine requirements.
“We are a long way from being in a position to commit to the World Cup.
“We are in a very serious pandemic, Victoria has just locked itself down for five days. Our focus is on that at the moment.
“We have not got all the conditions [ticked off] that we have put forward and we won’t go to the clubs and the players until we see they are achieved
“We are a long way from committing.”
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