Host countries Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup in England at the end of the year due to player welfare and safety concerns.
In a joint statement Thursday afternoon, the Australian Rugby League Commission and NZRL requested that the tournament be postponed until 2022 to avoid the risk of players becoming infected with Covid-19.
An extraordinary move takes place just a week after tournament officials confirm that the event is going on, whether or not they defend the Australian champion.
However, the organizers were convinced that applying strict bubble conditions to participating athletes could ensure that ARLC would sign the participation contract.
However, it still cannot convince ARLC and NZRL that the risk is worth it, saying that in the current UK environment, the risk is too great for athletes and executives.
Long-term stays from home, including the quarantine period, were also cited as a reason for the withdrawal.
The timing of the tournament was also a concern for the NRL club, which has players who will be quarantined for two weeks when they return to Australia after the final on November 27th.
Players are then entitled to take annual leave under the NRL contract. This means that you will not return to pre-season training until late January.
“Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a neglected decision by the Commission, but the best interests of players and officers must be our top priority. Protecting them is our absolute priority. That’s what ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys said.
“In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and well-being of athletes and officers traveling from Australia to participate in this year’s tournament cannot be overcome.
“The majority of NRL players now live away from home under difficult biosecurity protocols.
“Then they will have to stay under the protocol for the duration of the tournament, leave home and then quarantine again when they return to Australia. This is too much to ask players and stakeholders. ..
“We have again requested that we consider postponing the event until 2022 so that all players can participate in the IRL and Rugby League World Cup.”
Earlier this week, the UK lifted most of the Covid-19 restrictions, but case numbers continue to grow in both Australia and Australia.
Greg Peters, Chief Executive Officer of NZRL, said:
“It’s not an easy decision as the tournament organizers have moved heaven and earth to do this job, but the situation at Covid-19 in the UK has shown no signs of improvement and will send teams and staff. Is too dangerous.
“I understand how disappointing this is for fans and stakeholders, but the safety of players and staff remains a top priority.”
Australia and New Zealand withdraw from Rugby League World Cup in England due to Covid’s concerns | Rugby League
Source link Australia and New Zealand withdraw from Rugby League World Cup in England due to Covid’s concerns | Rugby League