Friday, September 18, 2020

NRL 2020: Brisbane Broncos COVID-19 pub breach, 10 players, Everton Park Hotel

NRL 2020: Brisbane Broncos COVID-19 pub breach, 10 players, Everton Park Hotel

The NRL’s integrity unit is investigating claims up to 10 Brisbane Broncos players attended a Brisbane pub earlier this month and may have breached COVID-19 protocols.

The NRL is attempting to ascertain whether the players breached protocols or if at the time of the pub visit the Broncos were permitted to attend the restaurant area to have lunch.

The COVID-19 protocols have been altered for NRL players over the course of the last month.

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Initially they were relaxed before a second-wave of COVID led to state borders being closed and players being forced back into stricter bubble restrictions.

The Broncos are reportedly hoping to be cleared of any wrongdoing, having already reported to the NRL after the group attended a restaurant attached to a pub for lunch earlier this month.

There is a grey area in the rules in that players are allowed to visit restaurants and cafes, but not pubs.

“Broncos expect to be cleared by NRL over Everton Park Hotel gathering,” Channel 7s Chris Garry tweeted.

“Brisbane reported incident to NRL more than a week ago and have been waiting for formal clearance. The function was during relaxed protocol stage, day after Sharks game.”


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Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already warned that the NRL was on its last chance after a string of infringements, as Queensland health brokered a strict agreement with the league.

“I will be reminding the NRL the future of the season is in their hands,” Palaszczuk said.

“Everyone has to do the right thing. Nothing is more important than protecting the health of Queenslanders.”

Mark Gottlieb revealed the Broncos were celebrating the end of a lockdown period.

“On Broncos Everton Park Hotel visit – some player’s had lunch at a restaurant attached to the hotel to celebrate the end of a 14 day hard lockdown on August 1,” Gottlieb tweeted.

“Teams in QLD can go to cafes/restaurants if they haven’t been to NSW in the previous two weeks and don’t socialise with public.

“Players are not allowed to go to pubs though. The issue is whether a restaurant attached to a pub is a breach.

“The club didn’t think this was a breach when contacted last week and still do not believe they broke the rules.”

However Channel 9s Danny Weidler revealed if the Broncos players strayed out of the restaurant and into the bar then that was a violation of the rules.

“The club is of the view they didn’t break Apollo rules,” Weidler tweeted.

“They say the club transitioned into relaxed Apollo rules that morning at 2am .. and a meal together was permissible. If they went to bar area/played pokies etc its an issue.”

The Broncos released a statement on Wednesday in relation to the matter.

“The Brisbane Broncos are aware of reports of an alleged COVID breach by a group of players at the Everton Park Hotel after reports to both Queensland Police and the NRL’s Project Apollo,” the statement said.

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“The Club has spoken at length to the players involved, who attended the hotel for lunch on Saturday, August 1 – the same day that players and staff inside the Club’s “COVID bubble” had transitioned back into more-relaxed Project Apollo Queensland restrictions.

“The team had played Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium the night before, which marked the end of a 14-day hard lockdown put in place after the team travelled to Sydney for the Round 10 game against the West Tigers on July 17.

“The players were of the understanding that lunch at the hotel was permissible under the more-relaxed restrictions which they were under at the time.

“The Club has been working closely with the NRL and provided a range of information as requested, and is awaiting a determination.”

Originally published as Broncos respond to police investigation after up to 10 players visited pub

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