ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has hit back at NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard’s claims on Friday that he will need permission to resume the season. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, V’landys has claimed that the NRL has received appropriate permission and the NRL could resume “tomorrow if we wanted to”.
The NSW Health Minister said on Good Friday that he had not spoken to V’landys or chief executive Todd Greenberg for more than a month.
“I don’t think they are a law unto themselves,” Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said. “Some of the players and coaches may think so, but they’re part of society and they have a part – as we have all done – to support not only safety for themselves but for all of us.
“They’re making their plans for the road out [of the suspension of sport] and I encourage them to do so in other sports. But whether May is the time will remain to be seen and definitely they’ll need to get some permission to do that.”
V’landy’s has disputed the medical officer’s comments, stating he is certain the NRL received written permission to resume in May from the NSW State Emergency Operations Centre.
The Greek Australian ARLC chairman reportedly called Hazzard on Friday to remind him that the state public health orders signed last week do not stop sporting events from taking place.
“In reality we could do it tomorrow if we wanted to, but we’re not going to because we’re going to let the infection rate continue its stabilisation,” V’landy’s told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“What we have juggled is to make sure we are no threat to the community’s health by spreading the virus. But I can’t see how we spread the virus if the players who are going there are all negative and playing each other in a sterile situation when we know they’re all negative.”
The NRL told AAP while they hadn’t spoken to Hazzard directly, they had been in almost daily communication with the NSW government.
“The NRL has been in constant contact with Federal and State Governments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic including this week, and will continue to work closely with government in the weeks ahead,” an NRL spokesman said.