More than 10,000 ticket holders will be barred from attending the NRL grand finale on Sunday after the Queensland government confirmed the new Covid-19 restrictions on Thursday.
Six new cases were recorded in the state on Thursday, including one in Townsville.
The decision between the Panthers and Rabbitohs is expected to take place at Suncorp Stadium, with the event already sold out after purchasing 52,000 tickets.
However, new restrictions mean that 13,000 people will now be banned from participating and their tickets will be refunded.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Thursday that large-scale sporting events in Brisbane and Townsville will be limited to 75% of their capacity.
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âIt’s going to be disappointing for people, but we have to follow the health advice,â she said.
âThe health advice is to take the second step (restrictions). The second step says 75% capacity, that’s what it will be. “
As for how the NRL decides who’s missing, tickets confirmed by the league will automatically be refunded for the 25 percent of fans who bought seats in each Grand Final sales allowance.
âWe had two ticket allocations for the Grand Final. The first was for the general public and the second for fans of the two Grand Final teams, ” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.
âThe fairest way to determine who can attend is to prioritize the first 75% to buy tickets in each allocation. Any fan who no longer wishes to attend will also be able to access a refund.
âI want to thank the fans who will now miss the Grand Final. I know you had counted the days to a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it will be hard news to accept, but this decision is not for us.
The NRL now faces a nervous wait as to whether the grand final will take place in Brisbane, with a Covid-19 test over the next two days.
âIt’s going to be critical, the next 24 to 48 hours, if we see any seeding in the community,â Palaszczuk said.
âAs soon as (public health chief) Dr Young says we need to go into lockdown, we will. “
Abdo paid tribute to the efforts of the Queensland government to keep the community safe and ensure the continuity of the competition.
âWe have a great partnership with the Government of Queensland and I would like to thank Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Jeannette Young for the way they have handled the pandemic and worked with us to ensure the continuity of the competition while ensuring the safety of the community, âhe said.
“Suncorp Stadium is one of the best stadiums in the world and with 39,000 passionate fans at the stadium, I have no doubt there will be a great atmosphere on Sunday night.”