NRL bursts into action to deal with doomsday scenario
A coronavirus crisis committee will be formed by the NRL, tasked with preparing every club for the multi-million dollar impact that would arise from the potential of stadium lock-outs or postponed matches.
In what is the first definitive sign that the NRL want a strategic plan in place should the 2020 season be railroaded by the virus, which is causing havoc to competitions across the world, a collection of club CEOs and senior club figures will make-up the sub-committee.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg made the decision to form the committee during a phone hook-up of all 16 club representatives on Thursday afternoon to discuss the code's coronavirus battle-plan.
The committee will be charged with formalising a detailed financial plan on how each club would react to being forced to suspend matches or play in front of an empty stadium.
The committee will assess the impact on sponsorship, corporate and hospitality as well as memberships and broadcasters.
Manly CEO Stephen Humphreys is one executive who has already indicated his willingness to be part of the working group.
Before he joined the Sea Eagles this year, Humphreys was the head of global sales for British Airways.
Opening the season on Thursday night at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta are one of the first clubs to adhere to the NRL's new guidelines and measures which are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Eels CEO Jim Sarantinos said the sub-committee was a sensible next step for the game and its stakeholders amid the threat of suspended matches or empty stadiums.
"Everyone at our club appreciates that this is an issue that is much bigger than just our game,'' Sarantinos said.
"Everyone is making adjustments, and we're no different."
"It's unclear what the next steps will be but having a number of people contributing to decisions and working together to understand the impact and how we handle it as a game seems like a logical step."
Behind the scenes, the coronavirus issue has heightened among the clubs over the past 24 hours with the majority investigating their individual stadium contracts and subsequent financial impact that the suspension of matches would bring.