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NRL refusing to halt season as...
Rugby

NRL refusing to halt season as Australian coronavirus cases increase

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

15:40 22 Mar 2020

Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) are refusing to halt their season and will continue playing unless the government intervenes.

The season started last week but matches are being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Government restrictions are being put in place with pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and places of worship shutting down from midday on Monday, while restaurants and cafes will have to switch to takeaway only.

The number of cases has risen sharply in the country in the last few days, reaching 1,315 on Sunday, but NRL chief executive officer Todd Greenberg believes that their matches must continue.

"At this stage, our intent is to play on and we remain committed to the continuation of the 2020 season as far as government advice allows it," said Greenberg.

"We have, and always will, stringently follow all government health advice and medical protocols to protect the health and safety of the community, and our players."

This morning the Australian Football League (AFL) decided to suspend the action in both the men's and women's competitions until May 31.

The Australian domestic soccer competition - the A-League - has not been suspended yet and, like the NRL, has been played behind closed doors.

Round two of the Australian Premiership was completed on Sunday.

It was the first round in the competition's history played behind closed doors due to the measures put in place in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

Greenberg also said that they are prioritising the health of the NRL's players, staff and supporters.

"Our number one priority is to protect our players, staff and fans and we will continue to do this by adopting the strictest possible medical protocols," said Greenberg.

"However, we understand the pace of the crisis is escalating rapidly and we need to remain flexible and conscious of community expectations."

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