Veteran sports commentator and former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons has lashed the AFL and NRL for proceeding with their seasons amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The AFL announced on Thursday night that they would go ahead with a shortened 17-round season behind closed doors, while round two of the NRL will proceed as planned, but also with no fans in attendance.
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Describing each code’s plans to proceed as ‘delusional’, FitzSimons said both were clearly motivated by a need to generate income.
“Is it a pain that the sport stop - absolutely,” FitzSimons said during his Five Minutes with Fitzy segment on Channel 9.
“Are there more important things? Jesus, how hard is this? Of course there are!
“Of course it's money driven. But the sad thing is, the truth of it is, you are dreaming. You are delusional," he said.
"The story of playing the grand final somewhere near Christmas...get a grip on this.
“Without being alarming, getting a grip on what's going on.”
Scott Morrison's 'sobering' reality for AFL and NRL
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has cautioned the AFL and NRL, but not explicitly instructed the country’s major sporting codes to shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The federal government’s new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus have served as a ‘sobering’ reality for footy fans.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a range of new measures, including a ban on all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
A major concern for both the AFL and NRL and their fans will be Morrison’s announcement that the measures will need to be in place for a minimum of six months.
“Whether it is the AFL, the NRL or any others, that’s a decision for them to make in accordance to rules that have been established,” Morrison said in relation to how the leagues will now proceed.
“No gatherings of more than 500. No internal gatherings of 100 or more - and there will be others. So they need to make their own decisions with how to manage that.
“We’ll focus on our responsibilities as prime ministers, Chief Ministers and Premiers. And the CEOs of the AFL and the NRL can make the decisions on what is best for their game.
“But they must comply, obviously, with all of the health rules and guidelines being established.”