In the wake of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk introducing stage-two COVID-19 restrictions across areas of South East Queensland, the 2021 NRL Grand Final’s crowd will be capped at 75 per cent.
As a result, only 39,000 fans will be in attendance with 13,000 now to receive automatic refunds on a “first in” basis as of the time tickets were purchased.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo believes that the fairest method of delivering these automatic refunds is by refunding an equal percentage of fans and general public tickets.
“We had two allocations of grand final tickets. The first was to the general public and the second was aimed at fans of both grand final teams,’’ Abdo said.
“The fairest way to determine who can attend the game is by prioritising the first 75% to purchase tickets in each allocation. Any fan who no longer wants to attend will also be able to access a refund.
“I want to acknowledge fans who will now miss out on attending the grand final.
“I know you had been counting down the days to a once in a lifetime experience and this will be difficult news to take, but this decision is out of our hands.”
At present the match is still not guaranteed to be played at Suncorp and should the match need to be moved up to Townsville due to the situation growing worse in Brisbane, the crowds will continue to be capped at 75 per cent.
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The announcement does not come as a surprise to either of the Grand Final teams who were placed back under level-four biosecurity protocols on Wednesday at 6 pm, similar to the restrictions that the clubs were placed under for a large part of 2020.
Members of each team’s bubble will now be required to be in their club set-ups unless attending training or performing essential household tasks. These restrictions also fall on the family members living within the bubble and for the remainder of grand final week, no visitors will be allowed inside the respective camp’s bubbles.
South Sydney CEO Blake Solly told NRL.com that the clubs supports the decisions of the NRL and state government.
“The club was informed yesterday afternoon of the change in protocols,” Solly said,
“We are supportive of anything the NRL or Queensland Government require us to do to ensure that Sunday’s game can take place safely.”
Abdo further acknowledged the Queensland Government’s role in keeping the competition alive this season.
“We’ve got a great partnership with the Queensland Government and I’d like to acknowledge the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young for the way they have managed the pandemic and worked with us to ensure the continuity of the competition whilst keeping the community safe,” Abdo said.
“Suncorp Stadium is one of the best venues in the world and with 39,000 passionate fans at the stadium, I’ve got no doubt there will be a great atmosphere on Sunday night.”
The NRL Grand Final is not the only sport facing uncertainty due to the latest outbreak with Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield cricket team returning home following the postponement of the match earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Saturday afternoon and evening is still set to feature a double-header in the Rugby Union, with the Wallabies playing Argentina followed by the All Blacks coming up against South Africa at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
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