NRL sets deadline for latest restart of 2020 season

ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys speaks to the media during an NRL press conference at NRL headquarters on March 23, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The NRL has told clubs it has designed scenarios for the suspended competition to resume as late as September 1.

The governing body is also planning for possible start dates on June 1, July 1, and August 1, with any date later than September 1 seemingly not an option.

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The details come following a meeting with all 16 clubs bosses on Tuesday, after the NRL season was suspended indefinitely on Monday due to the mounting coronavirus crisis.

A best-case restart in June would allow the NRL to complete all 25 rounds of its regular season, as well as the finals series, and a grand final in December.

The highly- lucrative State of Origin series could also be played prior to Christmas.

Clubs were also informed that they would receive their scheduled $1.2 million monthly payment next week.

The payments are also expected to be made in May and June, however it is unclear whether the league can continue cashflow from July onwards.

It is believed league officials will next meet with Rugby League Players Association to discuss the shutdown's impact on player payments.

Staff stood down as NRL grinds to a halt

The league also announced it will close its offices from Tuesday until at least May 1, with hundreds of staff across all departments asked to take annual leave.

In a town hall meeting on Monday, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg told staff the game was determined to keep playing in the face of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Greenberg told staff annual leave was required as a cost-cutting measure, however staff have reportedly been assured they will be paid through to May 1.

Closing down the NRL offices and forcing employees to take leave are the latest cost-cutting manoeuvres from executives, who are desperately fighting to keep the game alive under "catastrophic" financial pressure.

It is understood Greenberg told employees it was all he could do to protect their livelihoods as the game edges closer to suspension of competition.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Monday morning that the northern state’s borders would be closed in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As cases soared across the country over the weekend, multiple closures of state borders eventually forced the AFL to suspend their season until at least May 31.