Coronavirus: 'Premature' to suspend NRL season, says ARLC chairman


Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys believes it is "premature" to suspend the NRL season.

Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith called for the campaign to be suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the NRL planning to continue behind closed doors from round two.

But while V'landys accepted that was a possibility, he said the NRL would continue for now.

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"That's one option we've looked at. We want that lever up in our armoury at the moment," he told Sky News on Monday.

"We may do that three, four weeks down the track, but I think it's probably premature at this stage to be doing it because we want to have everything available to us in this crisis.

"To pull the trigger now and in two weeks nothing's changed, we've got nowhere, but if in three or four weeks a player unfortunately catches the virus, then we can suspend it there and use that two weeks there.

"We don't want to lose that asset that we have at the moment that we can suspend the season for a period of weeks without affecting the whole game."

V'landys admitted the decision to continue the NRL season was a financial one as he again called for rugby league to be included in the Australian federal government's economic stimulus package.

"It is a financial reason," he said.

"We earn our money from broadcast. If we don't get that revenue from broadcast we can't pay the costs, we can't pay the players, we can't pay the administration, we can't pay any of our bills.

"There's an economic multiplier through the whole economy because there's the broadcast people, the cameramen, the caterers.

"We're not asking for a handout. What we're saying is include us in the economic stimulus. Rugby league provides billions of dollars to the economy, it'll lift the spirits of people around Australia.

"In any other crisis in history you need sport to lift the spirit of people and in rugby league that's what we want to do. We want to continue playing, lift the spirits of people, but at the same time take every precaution possible so that none of our players or officials contract the coronavirus."

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