Coronavirus: Brisbane Broncos ‘in a fight for survival’ amid pandemic, says CEO

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Brisbane Broncos CEO Paul White acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic will threaten the existence of the club and the NRL altogether.

A decision was made on Monday to suspend the NRL indefinitely due to the spread of COVID-19, after authorities had attempted to keep going through the crisis.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys acknowledged the situation opened NRL up to a “catastrophic” “financial crisis”, with broadcast revenues reportedly worth up to AUD500million potentially on the line if the season is unable to resume.

Broncos chief White had been due to leave the club at the end of the season, but he is now contemplating staying to help steer them through circumstances that could be critical for even NRL’s richest team.

“It is a really tough time for our industry. We are in a fight for our survival as a game, and for us as a club,” said White, who along with head coach Anthony Seibold has already taken a pay cut. “We certainly want to be around for season 2021 and we are looking at all scenarios.

“The fortunate thing about our club is that we started planning and did some scenario testing for this probably four weeks ago. No one could have anticipated where this would start and finish and no one can now.

“At this point in time our club is in a strong position, bearing in mind that our business model is based on another 15 clubs participating and the NRL competition proceeding.

“But we have already taken some strong action and there will be more pain to come unfortunately for some wonderful people at our organisation.

“We want the competition to survive, so we are united as 16 clubs to take whatever measures are necessary for this competition to survive.

“I made the decision to make this year my last in the best interests of the club. If I believe that me remaining for a period of time is what this club needs and the board gives an indication that they may like to see that happen, I will make that decision at the time.

“But I am not going to tap out until I am satisfied that the club is back on its feet. I’m not giving you a definitive answer but I am not saying no [to staying] either.”