AFL presidents slam ‘absolutely irresponsible’ NRL
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has launched a stinging rebuke of the NRL's push to resume its 2020 season in less than 50 days, saying it reeks of putting finances ahead of player safety.
The former Victorian premier said he fully approved of the way in which the AFL was cautiously approaching a resumption, with no target date announced.
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But Kennett expressed serious concerns about the decision from NRL chairman Peter V'landys and chief executive Todd Greenberg to commit to a May 28 rugby league restart, particularly given the community restrictions still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think what the NRL people have done is totally irresponsible … absolutely irresponsible," Kennett told the Sunday Herald Sun.
"It shows no regard at all for the welfare of their players and hopefully the Government will step in and put them back in their place.
"That just shows you that they are putting commercial considerations ahead of their players, and to me that is unforgivable."
Kennett's concern was shared by Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon, who sits alongside the Hawthorn president on the AFL's coronavirus "war cabinet".
"The NRL continues to surprise … what can you say?" Gordon said.
"I'm pretty glad to be part of the AFL and I think those of us who've been in some way in these activities just watch the NRL with bewilderment, really."
The NRL has come under intense pressure in recent days, with broadcaster Channel 9 firing a broadside at the organisation over what it said was a mismanagement of finances.
The NRL has claimed it has been given permission to resume at the end of next month, but NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard stressed nothing had been ticked off.
Originally published as AFL presidents slam 'absolutely irresponsible' NRL