Coronavirus: RFL chief unmoved on Leeds Rhinos sanctions

Omnisport

Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer has reiterated the organisation's stance on potentially punishing Leeds Rhinos for withdrawing from their trip to Catalans Dragons amid coronavirus fears.

The game was due to take place behind closed doors on Saturday but the Rhinos took the decision not to travel after one of their players showed symptoms of COVID-19.

While the club said the decision was in line with Department of Health guidance, Rimmer told BBC Radio 5 Live that Leeds would face due process when the issue is brought before the RFL board.

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Asked whether sanctions were a possibility, he replied: "Yes it's a possibility. We spoke with Leeds at some length this week on that particular issue.

"We've applied the guidelines, which the government have asked us to observe. Leeds took a unilateral decision not to travel to that fixture.

"That will follow due process now."

The player has since tested negative for coronavirus and Rhinos' clash with St Helens is due to go ahead as scheduled on Friday.

When it was suggested that sanctioning a club for taking precautions could lead to clubs playing games despite health concerns, Rimmer insisted the league are following clear guidelines from the government.

"We were asked to observe some directives from the government," he said.

"We asked particularly about this scenario. We passed that on to the club and they took a unilateral decision. I'm sure the board will look at everything that's built around that case in particular.

"The rugby league board has been through a lot of landmark cases. It will be an interesting case."

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