‘Get a grip’: FitzSimons berates AFL, NRL
Journalist Peter FitzSimons has slammed the AFL and NRL for refusing to postpone their respective seasons amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Round one of the AFL premiership is scheduled to commence Thursday evening, all 18 clubs reportedly expressing their desire for the season to go ahead as planned.
The NRL is also set to continue with no spectators after being given the all-clear by Prime Minister Scott Morrison's new coronavirus restriction initiatives, announced Wednesday morning.
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However, speaking during his segment 5 Minutes with Fitzy, FitzSimons savaged the winter sporting codes for their reluctance to take action amid a global health crisis.
"Is it a pain that the sport stop? Absolutely," FitzSimons said.
"Are there more important things? Jesus, how hard is this. Of course there are!"
The 58-year-old accused the NRL and AFL of prioritising their financial situation above the wellbeing of their players and staff, calling the two businesses "delusional".
"Of course it's money-driven. But the sad thing is, the truth of it is, you are dreaming. You are delusional," FitzSimons said.
"Get a grip on this. Without being alarming, getting a grip on what's going on.
"The number of those infected with the coronavirus is doubling every 5-6 days. They are projecting 10,000 by the 1st of April, and it will go on doubling … This is a life and death issue for Australia.
"The AFL, despite the loss of money, should be leading the way and saying we can't play a competition in all this."
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FitzSimons proposed a drastic alternative if a traditional football season is not possible.
"The only way you could do it - and you couldn't do it - but the only way you could do it is to get 600-700 players, 300 officials, 100 physios, no doctors and find a field somewhere west of Alice Springs," FitzSimons said.
"That's the only way you could have an absolutely closed environment.
"But if you had it on the edge of Brisbane … how do you? It can't be done.
"Can you imagine a competition going on in Italy at the moment? It's unthinkable."
Unless there is a last-minute cancellation, the 2020 AFL premiership will commence Thursday evening with a Melbourne derby at the MCG. Meanwhile, round two of the NRL begins with the Bulldogs hosting the Cowboys on Thursday evening at Stadium Australia.