Coronavirus: 'No bad ideas' as Greenberg and NRL explore radical plans to relaunch season

By Sports Desk April 03, 2020

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg insisted there are "no bad ideas" as the league explores radical plans to relaunch the coronavirus-hit season.

The NRL postponed the 2020 campaign through just two rounds on March 23 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted sport across the globe.

Financial concerns have emerged for both clubs and players, prompting the NRL to deliver a 40 million Australian dollars rescue package to all 16 teams.

The NRL and Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) also reached an agreement on a revised pay deal for players on Thursday, ensuring two months' worth of wages and payments.

Now, the NRL is determined to get the competition back underway as soon as it is safe to do so and all ideas are on the table, according to CEO Greenberg.

"The concept is as simple as trying to find innovative ways to get the game back. And whether that's putting players in secure environments, or restructuring how the competition looks and feels, we're open to all suggestions," Greenberg told Fox Sports on Friday.

"At the moment there are no bad ideas. We're going to model a number of those scenarios to put to the commission at the back end of April and we're going to push really hard.

"Obviously there are some things out of our control. We don't have a line of sight yet on what the government restrictions will look like or border controls on our teams in both Queensland and New Zealand, but what we don't want to do is not be ready."

Greenberg's position has come in for criticism amid the pandemic, with his management and financial model in the spotlight.

But Greenberg said: "It doesn't feel like [I'm a dead man walking], it feels like I'm working a lot of hours. I've got to say we've had great support from our [Australian Rugby League Commission] chairman Peter V'landys and the entire commission.

"We feel very supported and I think I'm encouraged by the fact that there’s been so much support to try to drive the game forward. Of course there's going to be criticism. I'm a realist, I take that criticism primarily in the title and in the role that comes with the game.

"That criticism will continue to come. I see that as part of the rugby league landscape that any senior administrator or leader in a role like mine has to take that. I think the primary criticism is around the game's distribution model and cost base sustainable for the future. I think that's a question that we have to answer."

Related items

  • ATP revises ranking systems due to coronavirus ATP revises ranking systems due to coronavirus

    The ATP has confirmed its rankings system will be revised due to the impact of coronavirus.

    Tennis across the globe had to be halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with exhibition tournaments taking place sporadically in June, albeit under strict social distancing guidelines.

    The ATP Tour is now scheduled to restart in August with two tournaments ahead of the US Open.

    There are then three planned events in Europe before the French Open, which is set to be played in front of crowds.

    Ahead of the season's resumption, the ATP has now confirmed that the rankings will be revised to cover a period of 22 months, from March 2019 to December 2020, with the rankings having been frozen since March 16.

    This temporary change will be comprised of a player's "Best 18" results in the 22-month timeframe. 

    A player cannot count the same tournament twice, however, with the best of their two results counted.

    Tournament points added in 2020 will remain on a player's ranking for 52 weeks, or until the event is played again in 2021.

  • Coronavirus: Premier League confirms zero positive results in latest testing round Coronavirus: Premier League confirms zero positive results in latest testing round

    The Premier League has confirmed there were zero positive coronavirus cases in its latest round of testing.

    A total of 1,973 players and club staff were tested between June 29 and July 5, the league announced on Monday.

    In the previous round of testing, there had only been one positive result.

    It means there have been 19 positive results from the 16,280 tests carried out since May 17.

    England's top-flight returned from a three-month suspension amid the pandemic on June 17.

    The Premier League season will finish on July 26, with the FA Cup final scheduled to take place on August 1.

  • Coronavirus: Nationals reliever Doolittle blasts US over COVID-19 response Coronavirus: Nationals reliever Doolittle blasts US over COVID-19 response

    Washington Nationals left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle has previously called out MLB for its coronavirus precautions and on Sunday he went on a lengthy rant over the United States' response to the pandemic.

    The USA has been hit hard by COVID-19, with nearly three million confirmed cases and a death toll exceeding 132,000.

    "We're trying to bring baseball back during a pandemic that's killed 130,000 people [in the USA]. We're way worse off as a country than we were in March when we shut this thing down," Doolittle said. "Look at where other developed countries are in their response to this. We haven't done any of the things that other countries have done to bring sports back.

    "Sports are like the reward of a functioning society. And we're trying to just bring it back, even though we've taken none of the steps to flatten the curve, whatever you want to say. We did flatten the curve a little bit, but we didn't use that time to do anything productive. We just opened back up for Memorial Day. We decided we're done with it.

    "If there aren't sports, it's going to be because people are not wearing masks, because the response to this has been so politicized. We need help from the general public.

    "If they want to watch baseball, please wear a mask, social distance, keep washing your hands. We can't just have virus fatigue and keep thinking, 'Well, it's been four months, we're over it, this has been enough time, right? We've waited long enough, shouldn't sports come back now?' No, there are things we have to do in order to bring this stuff back. And now you want to bring fans back? Is that safe? I don't know. I'm not a public health expert, but we should probably defer to them on some of these issues.

    "So, I don't know if it's safe or not. I really don't know. But that doesn't seem like something that … I don't know if that feels like a good idea or not. I don't know."

    Doolittle also said he is still debating about playing this season amid health and safety concerns. Earlier on Sunday, Atlanta Braves pitcher Felix Hernandez announced he is going to sit out this season after Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price decided he would sit out on Saturday. 

    Another point of frustration for the 33-year-old Doolittle is that he still has not received his COVID-19 results from Friday even though MLB claimed testing would have a 24-hour turnaround time. He also said National players have not been given respirator masks they were told they would receive. 

    In mid-May, Doolittle posted a long Twitter thread presenting a number of questions about health protections for players, families, staff and stadium workers. He also provided links to articles that further examined the topics he was addressing. 

    The eight-year major-league veteran has appeared in 390 games for the Nationals and Oakland Athletics, striking out 457 batters over 388 innings. He was instrumental to the Nationals' World Series championship run last season, posting a 1.74 ERA over nine playoff appearances.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.