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The Project Apollo working group has today agreed to finalise a set of new health and biosecurity protocols in order to ensure player and staff safety to recommence the 2020 Premiership season. 

The committee agreed to continue to work towards a resumption of training on May 4 and reaffirmed its aim for the competition to recommence on May 28.  

The protocols are designed to reduce the risk of infection for players, staff, officials and the community. 

Anyone who does not comply with the protocols will face sanctions.

Project Apollo agreed all NRL measures will be more stringent than government restrictions. 

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) will endorse a specific proposal about player movements, training and game day protocols in the coming week. 

The protocols will be reviewed every time federal and state governments review their protocols.

ARLC Chair Peter V’landys said health and biosecurity protocols were being formed on the best expert advice in consultation with club and player representatives to ensure a competition restart. 

“Right from the start we said player, staff and officials’ health and safety would be the priority and we would base the rules on the advice of the experts,’’ he said. 

“These will be the toughest possible protocols but they need to be to ensure our playing group and staff stay healthy and the game can continue.”

Mr V’landys said the NRL would work with clubs, players and staff to develop the sanctions. 

“There will be sanctions. We’ve got no option, there must be a deterrent because one reckless act will bring down an entire competition and the livelihoods that come with that.”

“We will continue to work with the RLPA about what those sanctions will be for individual players.”

Mr V’landys said the competition remained on track to resume on May 28. 

“We made it clear earlier this month that our target date is May 28 and we are on target to resume then. There’s no reason not to resume, the infection rate in NSW has been less than 1% in the last ten days, coming down from 22.27% when we suspended the season on 23 March.”

Project Apollo Chair Wayne Pearce said the working group would continue lengthy consultations with experts before finalising the protocols ahead of Commission approval. 

“These protocols will be tough, but they need to be to ensure player, staff and community health and safety. I want to thank all of the members for their contribution in formulating the guidelines.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.