2nd April 2020, 09:48



The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has established an Innovation Committee to explore and develop models to recommence the National Rugby League (NRL) competition as soon as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARLC Chairman Peter V’Landys, a strong supporter of International Rugby League (IRL), has asked ARLC Commissioner and IRL Board member, Wayne Pearce OAM, to head the Committee whose key mission is to get the competition restarted, possibly as soon as 1 July.

Pearce has assembled a formidable team of key stakeholders with the widest possible experience including International Rugby League Deputy Chairman Hon. Troy Grant, Sydney Roosters Coach Trent Robinson, Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner, Rugby League Players Association CEO Clint Newton, and the NRL’s Graham Annesley, Liz Deegan and Andrew Abdo to explore and design different models supporting the code’s restart.

The sport offers rugby league fans around the world and members local communities an escape during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Chairman of the IRL Troy Grant said,

“I am grateful that Peter has asked me to be a part of this important group. I will be bringing my experiences from emergency crisis management and recovery, and also the support of the international federation. The competition’s integrity and player welfare are not only important for this interrupted season, but also for the years ahead.  Outcomes from the NRL competition has repercussions across an integrated international calendar. The Rugby League World Cup will be held in England in 2021. It’s absolutely paramount we get it right.”

Grant added

“Nobody knows the future regarding how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last or it’s consequential impacts on global economies and communities, but, we’re confident that Rugby League will be a cornerstone in any recovery process. Rugby League has a strong footprint in communities across the world and is a key economic contributor to local, regional and federal economies.

“Governments and communities in every nation will be looking to sport to use its community roots to help rebuild on many fronts. Rugby League has an important role to play in its communities everywhere and we are ready to support rugby league and its communities in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. That’s the power of sport and that’s the power of rugby league’s reach.”

The Committee will develop concept planning and models for the ARL Commission to consider with a 1 July 2020 target, but will be exploring all options on the table to recommence earlier if that is logistically possible; and meets the Government and communities’ expectations of good governance and controls.