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D-Day arrives as NRL and A-League to make coronavirus postponement decisions

Sydney - the centre of Australia's football world. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
22nd March, 2020
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As Australia comes to terms with tough new restrictions to minimise the spread of coronavirus, the immediate futures of the NRL and A-League seasons are set to be revealed on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday from midday pubs, clubs, cinemas, places of worship and other mass gathering sites will be closed.

Before the announcement, several states including Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia declared they were implementing partial shutdown measures early next week to tackle the pandemic.

In response AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the AFL will be suspended until at least May 31 while the AFLW finals series will be abandoned without premiers being named.

“The AFL industry is facing its biggest financial crisis in our history, but our key priority is to do everything possible to keep players, staff and supporters healthy and well through this pandemic,” McLachlan said.

“To say that this is the most serious threat to our game in 100 years is an understatement.

“It is unprecedented in its impact.”

The NRL completed its second round on Sunday and chief executive Todd Greenberg said the competition will forge ahead with its season until told otherwise by the government.

“At this stage, our intent is to play on and we remain committed to the continuation of the 2020 season as far as government advice allows it,” NRL boss Todd Greenberg said before a national cabinet meeting in Canberra on Sunday.

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“We have, and always will, stringently followed all government health advice and medical protocols to protect the health and safety of the community and our players.”

It is expected the ARL Commission will meet in Sydney on Monday to dissect the latest advice and decide if the competition will continue.

The A-League has also not changed their plans to continue playing, although following the cabinet meeting Perth Glory announced their clash with Western United at HBF Park on Monday evening had been postponed.

No date has been set for the fixture while Newcastle’s home match against Melbourne City is expected to go ahead at McDonald Jones Stadium on Monday.

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the league’s future would, like the NRL, be led by government advice.

“We remain under no illusions as to how fluid this situation is so we will remain agile and responsive to the challenges this pandemic brings,” Johnson said.

“We are continuously assessing our position based on the latest directives and advice.”

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