Burning questions from NRL's postponement

Everyone from the NRL, its clubs and their players face several hard questions as a result of the NRL suspending their season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NRL CEO TODD GREENBERG.
NRL CEO TODD GREENBERG. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

WHAT FORCED THE NRL TO MAKE THE CALL?

The NRL had still hoped to push on with the competition until as late as Monday afternoon before being advised against it by a pandemic expert. The growing number of cases in Australia sparked significant fears that the safety of players could no longer be guaranteed if they stayed on the field. Queensland's effective closure of their border and concerns over the Warriors' ability to return home also played a part.

WHEN CAN THEY RESUME?

The suspension of the competition is indefinite but the NRL hope to have further details in the next two weeks. Head office will continue to look into several options, including taking players to a city to play or conference systems in different states. Players will stop training but be asked to stay in isolation to keep them healthy if a return date becomes available.

HOW MUCH MONEY COULD BE LOST?

It's estimated the league could lose about $13 million for each round lost, while estimated figures are about $500 million if the season is wiped out. Chairman Peter V'landys admits that could be a catastrophic blow for the game and the NRL would be required to borrow money to survive the pandemic. The NRL told staff to take annual leave on Monday.

WILL PLAYERS HAVE TO TAKE A PAY CUT?

Yes. The NRL will meet players and their union during the next week to begin talking about cuts. A clause exists in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that can see the salary cap dropped if the league loses revenue. Several senior players on Monday said they would be willing to take pay cuts for the good of the game.

WILL ALL 16 NRL CLUBS SURVIVE?

This could form one of the biggest challenges. V'landys and chief executive Todd Greenberg will do all in their power to help clubs but it will be a trying year. Each club relies on grants of about $13 million from the NRL and that could be in doubt. Clubs will also lose significant sections of their income through gate takings and merchandise, while sponsorship could take a hit if games are lost or companies fall into their own financial trouble. Several clubs have challenging financial situations and already rely on their leagues clubs but those are now also closed as a result of the virus.


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