NRL to play behind closed doors

The Australian National Rugby League (NRL) will follow the advice from Federal and State governments, which effectively ban mass gatherings from this Monday.

It means that from Round Two, all games will be played within closed stadiums and spectators will not be allowed to attend Premiership games until further notice.

ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys AM and NRL chief executive officer Todd Greenberg said games will still be played as scheduled, within empty stadiums, with every match broadcast live on TV, radio and streaming services as advertised. Print and digital media will be allowed within venues.

“We know this will be disappointing for fans but we are dealing with uncertain and unprecedented times,” said V’landys.

“We have always maintained we would follow the advice of health authorities to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. In doing this, we have been in daily contact with Federal and State agencies and with both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today.”

All Round One games will proceed as planned this weekend. While fans are encouraged to attend this weekend’s matches, anyone who is experiencing any Coronavirus symptoms or feeling unwell are advised to stay away.

Greenberg added: “We respect today’s decision and our absolute priority is doing everything we can to protect our players and fans and reduce the spread of the virus in the general community.”

“We are acutely aware of the impact this decision will have on clubs, players, fans, and members, and the NRL will continue to work with the clubs to determine how to best manage this disruption. We are dealing with uncertain and unprecedented times but across the game, we are managing it in a collaborative way.”

The Australian Rugby League Commission and NRL management will meet tomorrow (Saturday) to discuss its contingency plans for the 2020 season.

COVID-19 guidelines, reducing player interaction with the general public outside of game days, released by the NRL yesterday will continue to apply. Along with broadcasters, working media will be permitted to attend games to ensure fans continue to receive widespread coverage of their team’s performance and updates.

Greenberg said the game would continue to keep fans updated on developments.

“Fans are what makes our game so great and we understand their disappointment but public health must come first. I want to remind all fans that every match will still be broadcast live on television, radio and via streaming services and the daily newspapers and television news will still continue to cover the competition for the fans.”