NRL virus crisis from shutdown to return

HURDLES AND HIGHS AS NRL CLEARED THE WAY FOR SPORT TO RESUME

* March 13: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg announces games to be played without spectators from round two

* March 15: “I can’t stress enough that our game has never faced a challenge like this. Our money will only last so long and once it’s extinguished we are in big trouble” – ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys calls for a federal government bailout

* March 23: NRL suspends 2020 season indefinitely after public coronavirus cases rise and Queensland and New Zealand implement travel bans

* March 24: Warriors return to Auckland

* March 27: Broadcast partner Nine tells the NRL they won’t make their quarterly payment on April 1. The network flags plans to renegotiate their current rights deal and extend broadcast partnership beyond 2020

* March 30: NRL announces $2.5 million relief handout for all 16 clubs

* March 30: Nine tells shareholders it would save $130 million if the 2020 NRL season was cancelled

* April 2: Players accept 71 per cent pay cut, forgo five months salary if the season is cancelled

* April 2: The NRL creates Project Apollo with bold mission to resume season by July 1

* April 8: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller signs off on NRL return in an official letter

* April 9: Project Apollo announces NRL to restart on May 28 without detailing season structure. Nine accuses the NRL of mismanagement and wasting millions in broadcast rights money. V’landys apologises for “miscommunication”

* April 10: Players agree to a renegotiated 72 per cent pay cut

* April 14: Reports surface the NRL has secured a $250 million loan from a group of London financial institutions

* April 20: Greenberg resigns. Andrew Abdo appointed interim chief executive

April 24: “It’s not premature. It’s disappointing that people use scaremongering rhetoric when it’s not necessary. I challenge them to tell us where it’s not safe,” V’landys tells Nine’s Today Show on the critics of the May 28 restart date

* April 28: South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell, Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr, Penrith’s Nathan Cleary and Newcastle’s Tyronne Roberts-Davis slapped with fines and suspended one-game bans for self-isolation breaches

* April 28: The NRL announces a 20-round season after finalising negotiations with broadcasters. Grand final slated for October 25

* May 1: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk grants Broncos, Cowboys and Titans permission to train and travel across NSW border

* May 3: Warriors touch down in Tamworth, NSW, to isolate and train after being granted an international flight exemption

* May 4: Squads officially return to training in groups of 10

* May 5: Melbourne set up camp in the NSW border town of Albury despite local council opposition

* May 5: A ‘no jab, no play’ sub-plot emerges as Gold Coast forward Bryce Cartwright refuses NRL’s competition-wide flu vaccination request

* May 6: Player pay cuts reduced to 20 per cent under the latest NRL deal

* May 11: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces easing of restrictions allowing Storm to return to training at AAMI Park

* May 11: NRL revises Nathan Cleary’s sanction to two-game ban and $30,000 fine after finding he was untruthful with the NRL Integrity Unit

* May 12: Players who refuse the flu vaccination on ethical or religious reasons barred from playing in Queensland

* May 13: NRL announces one-referee system to cut costs and keep game free-flowing, as well as “six-again” rule

* May 14: The Professional Rugby League Match Officials file complaint to Fair Work Commission over the one-referee system

* May 19: The ARLC finalise a new television deal, worth close to $2 billion. Nine and Fox Sports’ boards must approve the deal before it is ratified

* May 21: Full NRL 2020 season draw unveiled. Six venues to host games from round three to nine. State of Origin scheduled for November 4, 11 and 18; one-off women’s Origin on November 13

* May 22: “The league bosses were simply arrogant with this one ref decision. They were like a ‘bull in a china shop’” – the referees’ union said in a statement

* May 23: Referees’ union drop threat of industrial action, with the one-referee system to be reviewed at season’s end





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