NRL zero tolerance: ‘one reckless act will bring down game’
Players and clubs will be fined or face the prospect of being rubbed out of matches if they breach strict new protocols to be introduced by the NRL upon their return.
ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has warned there will be zero tolerance for anyone found ignoring the guidelines because "one reckless act will bring the game down".
Clubs could face the prospect of being stripped competition points if found guilty of a serious breach.
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Project Apollo has finalised a comprehensive document described as the benchmark for world sport outlining all the possible risks associated with returning to the field and how they can be mitigated.
They will formally introduce a checklist for all club's to implement for their staff and players when teams return to training on May 4.
Punishments for breaching any part of the checklist will be swift according to V'landys who declared "the whole game's future was on the line."
"There will be sanctions," V'landys said. "There has to be a big deterrent because one reckless act will bring the game down.
"We will treat any breach very seriously and there will be sanctions. The level of the sanctions will depend on the consultation with the clubs and Project Apollo."
V'landys, also the boss of Racing NSW, has implemented harsh punishments to ensure racing in NSW continues.
Racing NSW dished out a $2000 fine to star jockey Tom Marquand for breaking the social distancing protocols after his post-race embrace of a stablehand.
Stablehand Safid Alam was hit with a $500 fine for the embrace which Marquand initiated after winning a Group 1 feature race at Royal Randwick last week.
The exact punishments for NRL players will be worked out with the RLPA as early as this week.
NSW-based clubs have been warned they face tougher punishments given their players have the added advantage of living at home while the interstate teams could be locked-down having to live out of hotel rooms if boarders remain closed.
Players have already been told they will need to self-isolate, only leaving the house to go to training and matches or to buy essential items.
Even if the government relaxes social distancing rules, they may still be bound be tougher regulations.
Clubs know their training area will need to be deemed a safe zone and there will be guidelines surrounding who is able to come into venues.
There will be a long list of measures clubs will need to introduce once the players check back in with them as early as May 4 ahead of a planned May 28 kick-off.
There will be temperature checks as soon as they enter a facility, boots to be cleaned after every session and their hands washed as soon as they enter a venue.
Today looms as D-Day for Project Apollo. The group led by Wayne Pearce will meet before an afternoon phone hook-up with club bosses who are seeking more clarity regarding the game's return.
Coaches will also have a separate phone hook-up in the afternoon.
Originally published as NRL's zero tolerance: 'one reckless act will bring down game'