The NRL boss has revealed just what could happen with this weekend’s grand final, with postponement and relocation options still on the table.
At this stage, the match will still be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday, but with a reduced crowd of just 75 per cent capacity.
Around 13,000 people were automatically refunded their tickets yesterday, as a result of the Queensland government’s decision to reintroduce stage two restrictions.
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However, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, there are fears further changes will have to be made before Sunday.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has told The Today Show that they could still relocate the game to Townsville if they had to, but they would need to know tonight.
“The default position is that we want to play at Suncorp and we want to play in front of a crowd.
“If there’s a lockdown that happens from tomorrow, then I think postponement becomes a realistic option because we’re not going to be able to move – we can move quickly, we know that, but we can’t put on a grand final within 24 hours.
Mr Abdo has also confirmed that if crowd sizes have to be reduced even further, they will still play with 50 per cent of spectators there.
But admits, further refunds to ticket holders would be devastating.
“If that drops to 50 per cent, our aim is to still continue playing on Sunday,” Mr Abdo told The Today Show.
“If there’s a lockdown and we see the infection rates rise, then we will have to act accordingly.
“We do have our protocol in place so we know that we can play, but it is a grand final and I think that the commission will want to make a decision that maximises the impact for our fans.
“We have to think about our fans and playing in front of our fans, so the contingency plan for us will then be to potentially postpone the match and play the match in Townsville if we can play in front of a crowd there and it’s a lot safer,” he said.
All eyes will be on Queensland authorities this morning, to see whether or not the coronavirus situation has worsened and whether or not that will mean another change to restrictions.