Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

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wall_of_voodoo
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Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by wall_of_voodoo » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:12 pm

A postponed season, revenue loss, midweek fixtures: What we know about Super League's coronavirus discussions

Super League clubs have already held talks of how to tackle the coronvirus threat with the possibility of postponing games

As coronavirus continues to dominate the landscape fears grow regarding the speed with which the outbreak is now starting to take hold in this country.

Cases are expected to grow as we build towards the peak of the virus on these shores and that has not just the government on alert, but sporting organisations too.

A first Premier League football game has already been postponed with Manchester City’s clash against Arsenal called off after the Nottingham Forest owner, who has the virus, came into contact with a selection of the Gunners’ squad last week.

In Italy and Spain games have already been played behind closed doors and it feels like that could be the next step for the Premier League, but what of Super League?

Catalans Dragons’ home match with Leeds Rhinos on Saturday will be played behind closed doors after the clubs failed to reach an agreement regarding postponing the fixture. In that situation nobody wins, especially the supporters who have booked travel to Perpignan for the game.

There is a growing feeling Saturday’s behind-closed-doors match is just the first of many to be affected in the coming weeks for a sport, that unlike football with its millions of pounds, cannot afford to be played in front of empty houses.

Hull Live understands talks have already been held between Super League club owners, the Rugby Football League and the broadcast partners, including Sky Sports, regarding a way forward for the sport.

Those talks, which have been ongoing, were escalated yesterday as the owners met to discuss contingency plans, with the RFL set for further talks this week.

Here we bring you everything we know so far on how the coronavirus has impacted rugby league and what decisions are being made.

What is Super League’s stance?
There is a growing concern about the impact of coronavirus. Already rugby union and football games have been postponed and we have our first-ever Super League game to be played behind closed doors.

It seems only a matter of time before rugby league is hit and that’s why the clubs and the RFL are understood to be getting on the front foot with contingency plans.

Will further games be played behind closed doors?
That is a genuine option that is being explored and would allow Sky Sports to continue as planned with their scheduled matches, but it is not an option which is attractive or even viable for rugby league clubs.

Super League is propped up by the television contract but also by each club’s owners. Holding matches behind closed doors is not a financially viable option and would cost clubs significant losses which would make paying players wages difficult and would put some clubs in real financial danger.

Clubs rely on matchday revenue and hosting games behind closed doors would still incur large costs for the facilities but without the money stream of gate receipts, with fans needing to be reimbursed for tickets bought and those with season passes needing some level of compensation.

So postponing games is the only solution?
It is the only solution which makes financial sense for a sport not awash with money. It’s the solution which allows clubs to still bank that crucial matchday revenue, but it’s not as easy as just saying we’ll delay games for a couple of weeks.

Nobody knows how long the coronavirus will impact on society, to what level the outbreak will spread and how long exactly it will be a big enough issue to close down sporting events, if that is to be the answer.

If games are postponed when will the rearranged matches take place?
With an Ashes series set for the end of the season and Old Trafford booked for the Grand Final, simply adding on an extra three or four weeks to the campaign would prove difficult.

It is understood the most likely outcome would be playing games midweek later in the campaign and utilising the Challenge Cup weekend for those sides no longer involved in the competition.

But for two sides who go all the way to Wembley there will be no free weekends and that could mean four sides impacted depending on fixtures.

If there are midweek games how do they fit into the schedule?
Player welfare has finally become a real issue which has been taken seriously this season, with the Easter double-header scrapped, much to the delight of the players.

Asking those players to then go and play three times in nine days and repeat that several times over would have a sizeable impact on those players and would no doubt dilute the quality of the product.

One proposal would be to play on a Friday night, the following Tuesday or Wednesday night and then again on a Sunday afternoon before repeating the same schedule a week or two later.

Is there an answer which suits all parties?
Put quite simply, no! We are in uncharted territory here with discussions surrounding postponements and behind-closed-doors games.

One thing that is clear is if the decision is taken to continue with games behind closed doors, clubs will be placed in real financial trouble and the sport will suffer, as will the fans who will not be able to attend.

Postpone the season and delay matches and it is the players who will suffer, as will the quality of the competition.

What happens next?
Discussions are continuing this week and the RFL and club owners will take advice from the government on a way forward.

There is no danger to this weekend’s games and currently the season continues as planned, but with talk already growing about how other sports will be hit and possibly cut short or delayed, rugby league isn’t immune and will have a decision to make really soon.

What's been said?
Lee Radford: "I spoke to Adam Pearson regarding it last night and they’re waiting for someone higher than them to tell them what’s going on. It’s worrying. I don’t know too many clubs that can hold a month without any income from gates – the game is reliant on it. We’re going to have to wait and see on that one. I know Catalans and Leeds are obviously going to play behind closed doors and I don’t know too many teams that could get away with that for three or four weeks."

Steve McNamara: "It's not an ideal situation for anybody. It's enormous and will have a huge impact on the club. I do really feel for the club and Bernard in particular. And this might not be the only game for us. If it's one game, it's possibly okay but two and if it goes to three, who knows?
And that's in France, who knows what will happen in England at some point? We're aware of the need for gate receipts in our game to support the clubs financially. I was listening to Pep Guardiola's interview yesterday about playing behind closed doors and he's right. We play for the fans, we play to perform in front of people, that's what players do. It's not just rugby league, it's affecting sport all over the place. It's certainly not ideal for either team but it's what both teams have got to get on with and prepare to play."

RFL on Catalans behind-closed-doors game: The RFL stresses that this was a difficult decision enforced by the current circumstances and acknowledges and has sympathy with the impact it will have on the Catalans club. The RFL will consult with Catalans regarding their other home fixture scheduled for the period covered by the decree, against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday April 11."
https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/sport/r ... s-3940505
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josie andrews
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by josie andrews » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:20 pm

Suspend the season rather than play in empty stadiums’

https://www.seriousaboutrl.com/suspend- ... ums-27728/
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
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shaunedwardsfanclub
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by shaunedwardsfanclub » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:36 am

Public health should be paramount, the government need to act otherwise Coronavirus will spread exponentially. If that means suspending sporting fixtures or cancelling them all together then so be it.
Winning is down to 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Shaun Edwards

Caboosegg
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by Caboosegg » Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:48 am

shaunedwardsfanclub wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:36 am
Public health should be paramount, the government need to act otherwise Coronavirus will spread exponentially. If that means suspending sporting fixtures or cancelling them all together then so be it.
Next stage would be recommending people stay a metre apart.

So as we only get 10-12k in a 25k stadium surely we can just spread people out?
The Turkeys voted for Christmas.

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Mike
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by Mike » Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:51 am

This article suggests a 4 week suspension would be achievable. I think we're looking at 2-3 months. I doubt you could squeeze those games into midweek slots so we'll need an abridged season if this were to happen. Clubs are going to lose revenue IMO.

The booze hound
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by The booze hound » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:42 pm

Caboosegg wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:48 am
shaunedwardsfanclub wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:36 am
Public health should be paramount, the government need to act otherwise Coronavirus will spread exponentially. If that means suspending sporting fixtures or cancelling them all together then so be it.
Next stage would be recommending people stay a metre apart.

So as we only get 10-12k in a 25k stadium surely we can just spread people out?
And go to the toilet on a rota? :shock:

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Mike
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by Mike » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:43 pm

The booze hound wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:42 pm
Caboosegg wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:48 am
shaunedwardsfanclub wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:36 am
Public health should be paramount, the government need to act otherwise Coronavirus will spread exponentially. If that means suspending sporting fixtures or cancelling them all together then so be it.
Next stage would be recommending people stay a metre apart.

So as we only get 10-12k in a 25k stadium surely we can just spread people out?
And go to the toilet on a rota? :shock:
And not touch any surfaces that anyone else touched?

Caboosegg
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by Caboosegg » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:47 pm

Mike wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:43 pm
The booze hound wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:42 pm
Caboosegg wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:48 am


Next stage would be recommending people stay a metre apart.

So as we only get 10-12k in a 25k stadium surely we can just spread people out?
And go to the toilet on a rota? :shock:
And not touch any surfaces that anyone else touched?
Supply rubber gloves at the entrance 😂
The Turkeys voted for Christmas.

A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices

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CheshireWarrior
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by CheshireWarrior » Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:18 pm

Caboosegg wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:48 am
shaunedwardsfanclub wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:36 am
Public health should be paramount, the government need to act otherwise Coronavirus will spread exponentially. If that means suspending sporting fixtures or cancelling them all together then so be it.
Next stage would be recommending people stay a metre apart.

So as we only get 10-12k in a 25k stadium surely we can just spread people out?
Good call! :D :D

shaunedwardsfanclub
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Re: Coronavirus - possible fixture postponements

Post by shaunedwardsfanclub » Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:18 pm

Mike wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:51 am
This article suggests a 4 week suspension would be achievable. I think we're looking at 2-3 months. I doubt you could squeeze those games into midweek slots so we'll need an abridged season if this were to happen. Clubs are going to lose revenue IMO.
If we are following the path that the Italian's took in dealing with this virus, and it looks as though we are, then this season will be written off.
Winning is down to 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Shaun Edwards

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