BY STAFF WRITERS
The ARLC and NZRL have confirmed they will not be sending their nations to the scheduled 2021 Rugby League World Cup in the United Kingdom despite all other nations agreeing to go ahead with the tournament.
NRL.com released a statement on Thursday night saying players would be blocked from competing despite big names like Damien Cook, Trent Robinson and James Tedesco all supporting the Kangaroos and Kiwis being there at the end of the season.
“Not participating in this year’s World Cup is not a decision the Commission has taken lightly, but we must put the best interests of our players and officials first. Protecting them is our absolute priority,” ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said.
“In the current environment, the risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and officials travelling from Australia to participate in the tournament this year are insurmountable.
“The majority of NRL players are currently living away from home under difficult biosecurity protocols.
“They would then be required to remain under protocols and away from home for the duration of the tournament before again quarantining on return to Australia.
“This is too much to ask our players and officials to do.
“We have again requested the IRL and Rugby League World Cup consider postponing the event until 2022 to enable all players to participate.”
The announcement comes as Australian athletes begin competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Italy just clinched the European championship against in England at Wembley.
Remarkably, the Australian Wallabies will be in the UK in November for Tests against England, Scotland and Wales.
Organisers hit back with a short statement on social media.
“RLWC2021 note the disappointing statement made by the ARLC and NZRL which may have wide ranging implications for international Rugby League. RLWC2021 were informed at very short notice and will continue discussions with all stakeholders to agree on the best way forward.”
Many good experts are scratching their heads that if the game’s elite players want to participate then why wouldn’t they let them go?
Could they not have opened up a discussion and let players make their own decision?
Why wouldn’t NRL clubs simply allow players to miss most of 2022 pre-season in these incredible times?
As expected, almost everybody on social media was against the NRL’s announcement.