26 May 2020

Australia not rushing to get fans back in stands

6:26 am on 26 May 2020

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys wants to see crowds in the stands as early as July.

Panthers coaches watch from the empty stands.
2020 NRL Round 02 - St. George Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.


Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says it's not up to the sporting codes to decide when fans will be allowed back in.

"We'll be guided by the medical expert panel," he said.

"There is a process which has been set up with the states and the medical expert panel to review all of the professional sports.

"And they will make judgements fear or favour.

"They won't make judgements on economic imperatives or anything.

"Our goal is to get Australians back to as much normality as possible as soon as possible, but our guideline is to do it safely."

V'landys had said he wanted NRL crowds in stadiums from July 1.

"You are allowed so many people so we will start looking at that with the biosecurity measures in the coming weeks," V'landys told News Corp Australia.

"And I am not saying capacity crowds. I have to stress capped crowds. That is one way you can reward the members that have stuck firm."

V'landys says getting crowds at games is the "last puzzle" in managing the competition during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Potential attendances would depend on the size of venues, with V'landys conceding social distancing regulations will play a role in just how many people will be allowed in.

"In ANZ you might be able to get 20,000 with social distancing, whereas somewhere like Kogarah you might get 5000," he said.

"I am only guessing these figures, but it is absolutely on the radar. That is the next challenge."

The NRL returns this week.