The NRL has finally relented, with the 2020 season suspended indefinitely.
League bosses had vowed to plough on and continue playing for as long as possible.
They even had a contingency plan to play in regional Queensland.
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But that was also thrown into disarray when the Queensland Government announced it was shutting the State’s borders.
ARL Commission Chair Peter V’landys says player safety has always been paramount.
“Unfortunately that’s taken a dramatic turn today. Our pandemic expert and our biosecurity expert have said that due to the rapid rate of infection that we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players to continue to play,” Mr V’landys said.
“Accordingly we are suspending the season.”
But no date has been set for when league bosses hope to recommence the season.
“We are going to look at every available option to us in the next week or so, whether it be in other areas, be it in northern Queensland, all of the options are still on the table.
“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly but we have a world-renowned pandemic expert and they are very, very concerned at the rapid rate of this infection.”
NRL boss Todd Greenberg says they tried to continue for as long as they could, but that’s now not possible.
“It is indeed a deeply sad day, but one of the most responsible days in our game’s history,” Mr Greenberg said.
“We would not have reached this point unless the conditions had shifted so dramatically and so exponentially.
“Today’s a difficult day for the rugby league community, both here at head office and across all of our clubs and players.
“Our priority is to do everything we can to give our game every chance for a long and sustainable future.”
The announcement came just hours after the NRL confirmed it was closing its own offices until May, forcing hundreds of staff to take annual leave.
Players have been told not to turn up to training on Tuesday and to maintain self-isolation guidelines issued to them last week
The AFL announced on Sunday that it would suspend its season until at least May 31.