Peter FitzSimons calls out Peter V’landys over NRL boss’ ‘absurd’ shutdown regret

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Peter FitzSimons has labelled claims from ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys that he should have kept the NRL playing throughout the coronavirus pandemic as absurd.

V’landys said that enacting a shutdown after two rounds of the competition was the only regret of his response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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“Public relations-wise, it would’ve been difficult. People would’ve asked, “Why is rugby league still going and we’re not?” It would’ve been a nightmare, along with the closure of the borders,” V’landys said.

“But racing proved you can do it properly if you follow the correct biosecurity measures. People say players are spitting all over each other. But if they’re all negative, what does it matter?”

However FitzSimons, who has been a vocal critic of the NRL’s push to return so soon took exception to V’landys remarks.

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“When you say Peter V’landys is in overdrive, is he ever not in overdrive?” FitzSimons said on Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“The idea that they were wrong to shut it down, absolutely absurd. At the time, it was stunning that they were able to keep it going for two weeks.

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“If they’d gone on for three weeks, there would have been an uprising. They had to stop.

“I hope [it’s] proven right, that it’s a wise decision [to restart].

“I still have my fears that it’s coming back way too early and that what’s happened is, from the moment the government let them through the traffic lights, everybody else stop, you go through … of course everybody else has to go through.”

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FitzSimons also took issue with V’landys’ bullish decision to strip one referee from the game.

“What was rugby league about when it started? It was about the rights of the workers for a start to earn a dollar,” Fitzsimons said.

“You have 16 first grade referees, many of whom had upended their life, moved states and devoted their life and when it suddenly announced with six minutes notice we are cutting your workforce in half, excuse me there are workers rights involved here.

“You can’t just dismiss the referees. They are an absolute key part of the game. To give them six minutes notice, why wouldn’t they protest? Don’t they have rights too?”

Originally published asFitzSimons calls out V’landys over NRL boss’ ‘absurd’ shutdown regret

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