NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian doubts the NRL can have crowds back as soon as July 1 despite the ambition of ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, who claims there’s no good reason why they aren’t back now.
Having masterminded this week’s NRL’s return from the COVID-19 shutdown, well ahead of other sporting codes, V’landys has set a new goal of allowing crowds at games by July 1
To do so the move will need to be cleared as safe by state governments and health authorities.
On Thursday Berejiklian poured cold water on V’landys’ hopes.
“A lot of people are looking forward (to NRL being back on TV). I’m glad it gives some normality back to NSW,” she said.
“(But) I can’t see (crowds returning) by that date.”
Berejikilian’s comments came after Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone described the NRL’s push to have crowds by the start of July as “absurd and dangerous”.
However V’landys doubled down on his mission to start filling the empty stadiums, saying there was no good reason why a crowd could not attend Thursday’s season-restart match between Brisbane and Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.
V’landys said he wanted to see common sense used.
“There should be (a crowd at Thursday’s game). I see no reason why there can’t be,” V’Landys told 2GB.
“And you have to base it on data, not emotional scare-mongering cliches.
“That’s what they do. They bring up these cliches that put fear into people.
“They’ve got no data to show.
“The infection rate is less than half a per cent — how low do we need to get it?
“I just can’t believe what we’re going through at the moment because our infection rate is less than half a per cent and has been for 40 or 50 days.
“When we stopped playing the game it was 25.5 per cent.
“There’s a level of risk in anything you do in life.
“What we have to be doing is assessing the risk and acting accordingly, rather than having this overall blanket policy that is stifling everyone.”