Friday April 12, 2024

Australian rugby league to press on with new season

March 16, 2020

SYDNEY: Australia’s new rugby league season will continue for the time being but with games behind closed doors, officials said Sunday, despite the growing coronavirus pandemic.

There would be massive financial implications if one of the country’s most popular sports was forced to shut down a season that only began this weekend.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys called it “one of the toughest challenges for us to stay viable in the history of the game”.

“It could have catastrophic effects on us moving forward. Our money will only last so long, and once it’s extinguished we are in big trouble,” he said Sunday. “An Australia without rugby league is not Australia,” added V’landys. “Rugby league has been a fabric of our society for hundreds of years. It’s people’s escape, their relaxation and we need to do everything to continue that great tradition.”

Fans were allowed into games this weekend and round two will go ahead in a week’s time, but without spectators, after the government moved to halt events with more than 500 people from Monday to counter the spread of the virus.

“All decisions we make will have the safety and health of our players as paramount,” said V’landys, with the situation to be reviewed next week.