Sport Rugby League NRL insists it has necessary clearances to restart
Updated:

NRL insists it has necessary clearances to restart

The NRL says it is happy to talk to NSW Health about rugby league's return if the government wishes.
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys says the NRL has been given official permission to resume next month, but neither the state’s deputy chief medical officer or health minister have ticked off any proposals.

The game’s planned May 28 restart was again called into question by the NSW Premier on Saturday when she claimed she had not approved a return.

Gladys Berejiklian stressed the NRL was not on a list of forced closures or bans, but said the league had to ensure it could return safely.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said the issue was a matter for NSW Health and not politicians.

Speaking again on Saturday about the game’s resumption, the minister said the NRL had to have a discussion with NSW Health to see if it could return next month safely.

But the NRL is confident it already has the documentation required to do so.

The governing body has been spurred on by a March 31 public health order which prevents people staying on premises but excludes events such as sport or racing.

Mr V’landys also told AAP he’d emailed the State Emergency Operations Centre after that and, last week, received positive confirmation.

“We’ve got a letter from the coordinator confirming that we can train and play,” Mr V’landys said.

“So I could dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s; I got a separate letter off the department which is the State Emergency Operations Centre that is implementing the health order.

“And it says it does not preclude the NRL from commencing the competition. It says in the absence of crowds at relevant stadiums.”

When asked if the league was willing to sit down with NSW Health over the measures of the NRL’s return, Mr V’landys said he was.

“If he (Hazzard) says we have to, we will, but I have letters saying we can (return),” Mr V’landys said.

“We’ll do anything the state government requires us to do, but we are still of the firm view that we have permission in writing and it’s in the health order.

“I totally understand how busy they are so, accordingly I don’t expect them to know all the detail.

“But we’re comfortable we have the permission both in writing and in the health order.”

The NRL also took heart on Saturday with the continued drop of new cases in NSW, which are down significantly from when the game was stopped on March 23.

Players will be asked to undertake a number of biosecurity measures when the game returns, including around hygiene, self isolation and temperature checks.

V’landys’ comments came after Hazzard said he too hoped sport could return, but only once given the tick by authorities.

“It’s a ‘have a discussion with health authorities to see if it can be done safely’,” Mr Hazzard said.

“If it is possible for a sport, any sport, to operate in a safe way, that’s a question for health authorities – not politicians.

“The government did not stop rugby league from playing – rugby league stopped rugby league from playing (last month when the competition was suspended).

“We haven’t actually taken any steps one way or the other.”

-with AAP