tickets, Queensland Covid outbreak, Suncorp Stadium, refund, Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, update
ARLC President Peter V’landys admitted postponing Sunday’s grand finale is an option if all fans are locked out as the governing body deals with the Covid-19 outbreak in Queensland.
It comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Thursday that large-scale sporting events in Brisbane and Townsville will be limited to 75% of their capacity.
V’landys said PAA Friday will be “crucial” as the NRL prepares for contingencies – including postponement – if South East Queensland is stranded, keeping all fans away from blockbuster clash.
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“We are in the hands of the Queensland government, of course, and we are confident in their capabilities,” he said.
âBut we have contingency plans for each scenario and we just have to take each day as it comes and watch what happens and make the appropriate decisions.
âAt this point all systems are ready for Suncorp on Sunday with a crowd capped at 75 percent and we’re told that’s not going to change.
âWe hope the epidemic does not worsen and we are staying the course.
âIf there was no crowd, we would have to look at the whole situation, so I really can’t say.
âI don’t want to talk about a hypothesis. We have contingency plans ready for all scenarios.
âWe have to look at our options in this regard (if there was no crowd), are we playing it or are we postponing it?
âThere are all these different options.
âWe haven’t met in committee with (CEO) Andrew (Abdo) to finalize what we’re going to do, but we have a number of contingencies to consider should the worst get worse.
“(Friday) is crucial to see what happens because we are getting closer, but we are still quietly confident that we will move forward on Sunday.”
The NRL has Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on hold if the Grand Final were to be moved.
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The Sydney Morning Heraldreports that a method of arrival and departure is a possibility for the Rabbitohs and Panthers on Sunday.
Meanwhile, V’landys is determined to have the game played in front of fans, which makes the possibility of an instant lockdown in South East Queensland detrimental to where the Decider is played.
“We’re not going to play without a crowd,” V’landys told the Herald.
âFor us, it’s all about the atmosphere. It’s a grand finale, it’s a major event and we have a number of contingency plans.
âYou can never predict for sure with COVID, but at this point the government is confident that we can proceed with 75% (crowds). We are moving forward accordingly.
It was confirmed earlier that 13,000 fans would not be allowed to attend Suncorp Stadium and that their tickets would be refunded due to Queensland’s new restrictions.
Six new cases were recorded in the state on Thursday, including one in Townsville.
The grand finale is already sold out after purchasing 52,000 tickets.
âIt’s going to be disappointing for people, but we have to follow the health advice,â Palaszczuk said.
âThe health advice is to take the second step (restrictions). The second step says 75% capacity, that’s what it will be. “
As for how the NRL decides who’s missing, tickets confirmed by the league will automatically be refunded for the 25 percent of fans who bought seats in each Grand Final sales allowance.
âWe had two ticket allocations for the Grand Final. The first was for the general public and the second for fans of the two Grand Final teams, ” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.
âThe fairest way to determine who can attend is to prioritize the first 75% to buy tickets in each allocation. Any fan who no longer wishes to attend will also be able to access a refund.
âI want to thank the fans who will now miss the Grand Final. I know you had counted the days to a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it will be hard news to accept, but this decision is not for us.
The NRL now faces a nervous wait as to whether the grand final will take place in Brisbane, with a Covid-19 test over the next two days.
âIt’s going to be critical, the next 24 to 48 hours, if we see any seeding in the community,â Palaszczuk said.
âAs soon as (public health chief) Dr Young says we need to go into lockdown, we will. “
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Abdo paid tribute to the efforts of the Queensland government to keep the community safe and ensure the continuity of the competition.
âWe have a great partnership with the Government of Queensland and I would like to thank Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Jeannette Young for the way they have handled the pandemic and worked with us to ensure the continuity of the competition while ensuring the safety of the community, âhe said.
“Suncorp Stadium is one of the best stadiums in the world and with 39,000 passionate fans at the stadium, I have no doubt there will be a great atmosphere on Sunday night.”