The COVID-cops who will police NRL
The NRL will introduce a trio of "COVID-cops" after issuing clubs with a warning they will be stripped of competition points if they do not comply with strict biosecurity measures.
The governing body will have three independent people - a logistics expert, a medical expert and a doctor and academic - who will oversee the introduction of the new policy to ensure clubs and players are adhering to the new safety measures.
The NRL's Project Apollo met on Wednesday before new chief executive Andrew Abdo led a phone hook-up of club bosses in the afternoon.
he NRL officially warned clubs of their intentions to be heavy handed with those sanctions if they do not meet the standards which will be overseen by the trio of compliance officers.
Any punishments will be handed down by the NRL's integrity unit.
ARLC commissioner Wayne Pearce said the measures will be confirmed in a document next week and distributed to clubs.
"We spent most of the meeting discussing the biosecurity protocols and the recommendations that have come from our independent experts," Pearce said. "Clubs will be given a draft document about what the key aspects of the protocols are.
"Within the guidelines and the rules of the games as it stands and without drafting any new rules we can strip points from clubs down to fining or suspending players. It will be a case-by-case basis.
"That's something that we want to consult with those stakeholders so that we get some feedback and can be fair and reasonable."
Players will be asked to fill in daily health-checks and that information will be channelled back to an NRL controlled central system. They will be among the raft of measures brought in to ensure players safety.
"There is going to be an application that players will be required to complete each day," Pearce said. "It is a health risk assessment application that will come back to a central database.
"There is a whole lot of those sorts of measures that will be introduced to ensure that we not match but exceed government regulations."
Abdo wrote to club bosses prior to the phone hook-up yesterday telling them he is focused on restarting the game and ensuring its long-term viability. Various subcommittees which were formed to explore salary cap and football club spending have been delayed until a broadcast agreement has been reached.
ARLC chairman Peter V'landys described the health measures as the "toughest possible protocols".
"They need to be to ensure our playing group and staff stay healthy and the game can continue," V'landys said. "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."
Originally published as The COVID-cops who will police NRL