The sporting world has been thrown into calamity since the rise of the coronavirus. From European football to the NBA, leading organisations and nations governments have been forced to halt their ongoing competitions. Now the problem has presented itself onto our shores as the NRL season commenced over the past weekend.
“An Australia without rugby league is not Australia”, said ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys as the code faces a harsh, troubling period. If the NRL were to stop it could be viewed as a huge catastrophe as financially the sport doesn’t have the funds to survive.
The governing body has come under criticism for ignoring the pleas of foundation commission member Gary Pembertonin 2012 that $50 million should be saved yearly should an event such as now occur.
Instead of a safety net of $400-450 million, newly appointed chairman V’landys admitted to NRL 360 that there was only $70-80 million in the bank.
The A-League and AFL have announced that their seasons will be played behind closed doors, whilst Super Rugby has stopped completely.
Rugby league also plans to go into lock down stadiums from this weekend after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a halt to mass gatherings of over 500 people.
The competition is willing to keep it that way until the situation either improves or worsens, although such a solution has not proven to be simple with more major hurdles being thrown at the NRL.
The governments of New Zealand and Australia put into effect policies forcing new arrivals into 14 days of quarantine regardless of their citizenship status.
Now the New Zealand Warriors have had their season completely impacted as they face the daunting prospect of leaving their family, friends and home behind and forcibly based in Australia for the foreseeable future.
The men across the Tasman will play their relocated game against Canberra Raiders this coming weekend on the Gold Coast and have reportedly vowed to stick it out as long as they must.
The ARLC has called on the government for support during these troubling times as Morrison’s cabinet deals with their economic stimulus package. Without government financial aid, the sport's leaders insist the crisis could see the competition draw its final breaths.
Currently, the main goal for the NRL is to continue behind closed doors though as the coronavirus does spread, only more questions will be asked than answers provided.
Uncertain times ahead.