Kris Radlinski reveals impact coronavirus has had on Wigan Warriors and rugby league

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josie andrews
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Kris Radlinski reveals impact coronavirus has had on Wigan Warriors and rugby league

Post by josie andrews » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:20 pm

In a wide-ranging interview with, Warriors' executive director Kris Radlinski has revealed the impact the coronavirus crisis has made - and his concerns for the future...

Are players still training, and are any players or staff self-isolating?

No-one is self-isolating.

The Robin Park site is on lockdown so it’s first-team only and they’re still training in small groups – and we’ve made it clear it’s optional.

In line with advice from the governing body, they’re in small, specified groups with designated coaches, and the sessions are staggered so they don’t overlap.

They’re not doing too much rugby league training, it’s mainly conditioning to maintain their fitness and then they’re going home to their families.

Health is obviously the priority but, from a financial perspective, how concerning is it?

It’s as tough a time as we could be in – we rely on crowds and supporters and retail, and at this moment we’re getting none of it.

People know rugby league clubs aren’t flush with cash, so they’re definitely challenging times.

I will say that the clubs, Super League and the RFL are all talking to each other and trying to help each other, and looking at what can be done.

There are a lot of people working extremely hard, they’re up for the fight.

And at some point, they’re going to say, ‘Rugby league can play again’.

But the priority right now is making sure we’ve clubs at the start line.

With the short-term is the concern, do you think any clubs will take advantage of the government’s loan scheme for businesses?

I think some clubs will use it. We need to aggregate our forces and go to the government as a sport and ask how they can help and stress to them that rugby league is ingrained into so many communities and cultures, particularly in the north.

Many people hold the Challenge Cup Final and the Ashes tour close to their heart – do you think they may be under threat?

Everything is on the table, and nobody is going to come out of this getting everything they want.

We all adore the Challenge Cup, everyone can’t wait to see the Ashes series, but some things will have to give. The Super League and RFL are working closely through this period.

This is unprecedented, not just for sport. And it’s live at all times, things are changing so rapidly – we’re circulating emails to staff and things are changing before we’ve hit ‘send’. A lot of people are concerned because this is their livelihood.

Why did clubs reject playing behind closed doors, and is that something which could become an option?

It wasn’t just the financial aspect, we had to consider players, referees, coaches, their families. We made a decision as a Super League board that at this moment it wasn’t the right thing to do, but that may change. We have a Sky contract to fulfil and if, in the future, if we have healthy clubs and the conversation takes place about doing it, we’ll have to look at it.

For Wigan, if it’s a home game, that means having a conversation about the DW Stadium, but we’ve got a fantastic working relationship with Wigan Athletic and we’re all helping each other at these uncertain times.

The season is currently postponed until April 3, you seem quite confident the season will resume – do you have any idea when?

The April 3 date fell in line with some other sports and it just gives us that time to put in different contingencies. But when will it start? I can’t see it being April 4 but it may be two weeks after that, it may be four weeks after that it may be longer. That’s what we don’t know yet.

How have the players and coaches responded to this?

It’s funny, the business survival is our focus, but there’s also a rugby league team here and my performance staff are asking, ‘How can we be sure to hit the ground running when it resumes?’ I love that they’re asking those questions. I spoke to Lammy and he said he’s excited by this. I told him I’m not – I haven’t slept for three days! But when you’re in the performance environment, you look at where you can get advantages and that’s what they’re doing, and will continue to do. Players and coaches are resilient and they’ll work hard and when the time is right, we’ll be ready to go.

You seem confident the 2020 season will be concluded, in some form...

We’ll get back on track, nobody is having the conversations we won’t – it’s just a case of when, and can everyone make it through. There are different contingencies being drawn up for different start dates – the fixtures will be fulfilled – but the stress and the challenge now is, ‘Can we have clubs at the start line when it recommences?’

When the season does resume, what can fans do?

We need them more than ever. Absolutely, more than ever. The messages we’ve had so far have been nothing but supportive, they realise these are unprecedented times. I’d say to any fan, ‘If you’ve any love for rugby league in your heart, now is when we need to see it.

Because we’re up against it.’ I understand people have got other concerns because they have to look after their own livelihoods and families and for some, supporting a club will be low on their priorities. I absolutely understand that.

But if you can, when we’re back on track, if you’re a fan of Wigan or Wakefield or whoever it may be, and you’ve not been for a while for whatever reason, please go along and support the club. The sport needs your support. ... ue-2487903
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage.

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Re: Kris Radlinski reveals impact coronavirus has had on Wigan Warriors and rugby league

Post by moto748 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:18 am

All fair enough and well said.

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