Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chairman Peter V’Landys, has declared his intention to have crowds back at NRL matches by July, despite ongoing coronavirus concerns.
Peter V’landys who migrated to Australia with his family as a four-year-old from Kythera (Greece), is one of the most influential figures in Australian sport.
The Australian Medical Association has labelled his plans to reintroduce crowds from July 1 as “absurd and dangerous.”
“You can’t have one rule for one and then ignore it for another,” V’landys said.
“If you allow people into pubs and clubs with social distancing, why wouldn’t you allow the same situation in an open-air scenario? What’s the difference? We will have a lot more biosecurity measures in our situation than anybody,” he added.
V’landys is eager to get sponsors and corporate guests back into venues to help drive revenue, as well as have fans themselves to support their teams.
“We’re not Italy, we’re not Spain, we’re not Britain. We’re Australia. We should do a risk analysis and if the risk is low to minimal, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have crowds. We’ve got to get back to some form of normality…The risk is absolutely minimal and if the risk is minimal, I can’t see any reason why we can’t do it. We’ll be pushing our case with governments in the next two to three weeks once we have this data,” he continued.
The ARLC chairman explained a stadium with 60,000 seats may only be capable of holding 10,000 fans with proper social distancing enforced. Thermal cameras would also be used to take the spectators’ temperatures.
Rugby league will become the third major sporting code in the world to resume tonight, when the Broncos and Parramatta Eels kick-off at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia.