Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer says the sport will continue to adhere to Government guidelines and stage matches until the situation changes.
Speaking to BBC 5Live ahead of Sunday’s Super League game between Castleford Tigers and St Helens, Rimmer said that the fact there are no current cases of coronavirus at any club differentiates it from sports such as football that have closed down.
Rimmer said: “Some messages have been confusing and others have been very straight forward and we’ve adhered to the guidelines. At this moment in time the games are one.
“We’ve spoken to the Government regularly – more than once a day – over the last couple of weeks. That has ensured we’ve circulated all the directives from Government to clubs on measures to take to minimise the possibility of contagion.
“From that point onwards we’ve just stuck to the guidelines and got the games on, and I think the Government have been very good in the way they’ve handled it.
“Our liaisons have been very close – we’ve been regular contact with them, the broadcasters, the commercial partners and also the professional clubs. All we’ve done is taken their advice and applied them.”
Super League clubs will meet on Monday and Championship and League One clubs the following day to determine whether that situation changes before next weekend’s scheduled matches.
Rimmer said: “I won’t pre-empt any decision from the Government. We have had talks very regularly, they’ve been very direct with their guidance and we’re very grateful for that.
“What we have done is circulate lots of different modelling to the professional clubs and we will meet with them early this week to talk about what the options may look like in the future. Until anything changes we’ll be moving forwards.”
Rimmer was pressed on why rugby league has continued to stage matches in front of open stadiums while other sports have effectively closed down.
He said: “Our sport currently doesn’t currently have any positive tests. Football do have some positive tests and that becomes a workforce issue for them and means they are struggling to get games on. In that instance it’s impossible to put a programme of football together.
“At this moment in time in rugby league there are no positive tests and we are reviewing the situation on a daily basis. All the clubs have doctors who are very keenly aware of the health of their squads, and rest assured everything will be monitored very stringently.”
Australia’s NRL has openly discussed the possibility of taking the entire 16-team competition to one venue in North Queensland, quarantining the players and staging matches behind closed doors for television purposes.
Asked if playing games in closed stadiums here could happen, Rimmer said: “We’ve submitted many options and that is one of them.
“We have to be realistic about the situation the sport is in. Nevertheless the sport has shown itself to be very resilient over the last 125 years and hopefully we can find a way forward.
“The elements we need to consider in this are the health of the general public clearly, player welfare issues, competition integrity and keeping the clubs solvent. All of those come into the equation.
“We submitted something to the clubs from the RFL on Friday night and there are many different options in there about how we go forward in the different scenarios that might come forward.
“We’ll judge that tomorrow. Clearly this is a test but if we work together we can get through it.”
On Friday Leeds Rhinos made the decision not to travel to France and play Catalans Dragons due to a player showing symptoms, who has since been cleared. Rimmer admitted there is a possibility the Rhinos could be sanctioned for the move, saying the governing body “will follow the due process”.
Source: Read Full Article