New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, told the ABC last Friday in response to whether the NRL could resume on 28 May that “the short answer is no”, but that it would be up to the NRL to prove to the government that resuming could be done safely.
“If you’re asking me whether the NSW government has formally given approval, the short answer is no
“The organisation has to show that they’re compliant to the health rules and if they don’t, they don’t proceed. If they do well, good luck to them or any other organisation.” Berejiklian said.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys insisted that organising logistics to resume the premiership season will be complicated, but possible. He said, “as you can imagine, there’re so many different moving parts, from government relations to biosecurity and biomedical [concerns] and then the injury management, the broadcast negotiations and discussions around the structure of the competition.”
The matches are to be held in NSW, although there are concerns that interstate and New Zealand players will not be able to cross the borders in time for the targeted restart date. “I am very concerned about Queensland teams going into New South Wales,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
She said, “it would have to be very strict quarantine and I’d have to get advice from my chief health officer.”
The Canberra Raiders and the Newcastle Knights could train in their respective cities and bus to and from Sydney for the match.
But the NRL has to ensure more than 500 people — players, coaches and support staff — are coronavirus free before match day. New South Wales’ chief medical officer Kerry Chant said testing will be necessary right before the actual match.
“Just because someone’s well today doesn’t mean they weren’t potentially infectious,
“There’s no rapid testing that can exclude the virus at this stage.”
V’landys said the orders around social distancing precludes sports and are anyways advice not law. “The proof is in the pudding at the moment, not one player has proven positive to the virus so all of our players have been following our self-isolation rules and not interacting with the community,” he said.
“We’ve got six weeks as I say to see how the infection rate is going, if the infection rate spikes well naturally we will re-target another date.”