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NRL: Australian rugby league competition plans to restart on 28 May

The NRL was suspended on 23 March

Australia’s National Rugby League competition will restart on 28 May if coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The league was stopped after just two rounds of the 2020 season, but Australian Rugby League bosses said they wanted to give everyone involved in the sport some “certainty”.

The pandemic has decimated sport with most campaigns cancelled or suspended.

“We haven’t finalised what that [competition] looks like yet,” ARL commissioner Wayne Pearce said.

“Why we want to firm up a date is to give certainty to players and their schedules, clubs and thousands of people who are out of work through clubs and millions of fans.

“It’s a mark for everyone to work towards that’s associated with the game.”

Australia has a relatively low number of coronavirus cases compared to parts of Europe and the United States. Just over 6,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 51 have died.

The ARL also confirmed it intended to play the full three-game State of Origin series in June and July and that the NRL grand final would remain in its traditional format of one match, played in Sydney.

Thursday’s decisions were made after a phone hook-up with representatives from each of the 16 NRL clubs.

“The situation is changing dramatically and we need to get moving,” ARL chairman Peter V’landys said.

“It is in the best interests of our clubs, our players, our stakeholders and importantly our fans that the competition resumes as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We have said right from the start that what we say today may need to change tomorrow. We will be flexible, and if the trend changes or if government restrictions change then so will we. The health and safety of our players and the general public remains the absolute priority.”

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