The Queensland State Government closing their borders has finally forced the NRL to postpone the 2020 season.
Despite the best efforts of the governing body to persist with the competition amidst the coronavirus pandemic, ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed this evening that the NRL have called a halt to the season after two rounds.
“Due to the rapid rate of infection, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players. Accordingly, we are suspending the 2020 NRL season,” V’landys said.
No timeframe has been put on the competition’s resumption.
V’landys confirmed the NRL had been considering playing the season in one location in Queensland, but today’s announcement from the State Government made that untenable. By making a decision today, he said, it also allowed the Warriors to return home to New Zealand – something they may not have been able to do had the decision been delayed.
He reiterated the financial pressure the code will come under with games cancelled, but stressed the game of rugby league will survive.
“It’s catastrophic, I don’t think we’ve ever come across a financial crisis like it.
“You can’t understate it, it’s probably the biggest challenge the game will ever face financially.
“Rugby league will always survive in some way but I can’t guarantee it will in the same way. We’re ready for the worst.”
Greenberg flagged that, while players will still be paid even as NRL staff are sent home and asked to take leave, they will likely be asked to take pay cuts during the lay-off.
“We’re talking about rugby league but we’re talking about a much broader issue in our community,” Greenberg said.
“We can still pay the players, but the cost base will need to be reset. From players to clubs, central administration.”
The move comes a day after the AFL postponed their season until May 31 at the earliest, leaving the A-League as the last of the country’s major sporting competitions still running, although the FFA is set to make an announcement on Tuesday morning.