The NRL will hold urgent negotiations with broadcast partners Nine and Foxtel in an attempt to shore up its financial future after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The code had initially tried to forge through this year’s games, despite most sports competitions around the globe being paused, but says it’s now not possible to continue after medical experts updated advice.
“Our pandemic expert and our biosecurity expert have said due to the rapid rate of infections that we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players to continue to play,” says Peter V’landys, chairman for the government body of rugby league Australian Rugby League (ARL) Commission.
“As I’ve said that’s the paramount consideration in all our decision making; the safety and health for our players.”
No timeframe has been put on the suspension and the league is still looking at all options to recommence the season, including hosting it in northern Queensland.
The pandemic has thrown the NRL into one of its worst financial crises in its history, with the NRL asking all staff to take annual leave immediately.
The NRL will begin negotiations with its broadcast partners Nine and Foxtel to find a path forward for the game. The media companies, along with Telstra, signed a $1.8 billion deal for the rights to the games.
“We’ve been in dialogue with our broadcasters, they’ve been great to date. Naturally, they're shattered just like we are as to what happened today,” V’landys says.
“We will sit down with them in the next two days and go through all our options. They’ve been very good to this point and they are looking at options where the financial impact isn’t as bad as what we could expect but until we sit down it’s too premature to say exactly what will happen.”
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