Warriors in limbo as PM refuses to endorse NRL plans

Mr Morrison said some restrictions will be eased next week.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refuted reports that the New Zealand Warriors have been granted approval by the national cabinet to arrive in Tamworth.

Mr Morrison spoke on Friday afternoon, shutting down a report which stated that the Warriors had been cleared by the National Cabinet to arrive in Australia on May 3.

"The National Cabinet has not provided that endorsement," Mr Morrison said.

"The individual jurisdictions will ultimately provide any of the clearances that are necessary on a health basis … in relation to the border issues with NZ, well that authority has not been provided.

"No amount of reporting it will change those restrictions."

Mr Morrison said some restrictions will be eased next week.

Mr Morrison's comments came after the Airport confirmed that it had received notification from a charter flight from Auckland to land on Sunday 3 May, but said it was yet to receive notification on whether the government had approved the landing.

"Tamworth Regional Airport is able to confirm it has received notification from a charter flight from Auckland to land on Sunday 3 May, 2020," the statement read.

"Airport management is yet to be officially notified whether the flight has the approval of the Federal Government to land considering the current COVID-19 ban on international travel.

"Staff at the airport are ready to work with Border Force staff based in Newcastle who will travel to Tamworth to manage immigration procedures in the event the flight is given permission to land.

"It is not the airport's policy to release any specific details of flights or the identity of passengers."

The New Zealand Warriors arrive at Gold Coast Airport for their departure.

According to Nine's NRL reporter Neil Breen, the Tamworth Airport will be allowed to receive just one international flight, that being the Alliance Airlines flight with the Warriors players and staff on it.

"A private charter that the Warriors have booked to come out of Auckland and to arrive in Tamworth on Sunday afternoon at 4pm," Breen told TODAY Extra on Friday morning.

"There will be 40 passengers on board that plane. They'll be processed through customs, then the restrictions are (that) they must quarantine for 14 days before they can play."

The Warriors being in a state of flux in terms of government approval is the latest blow in what has been a horror week for the NRL.

Four players were handed fines for flouting lockdown laws in two separate incidents, while players have been embroiled in a pay war with the NRL.

Peter V'landys

NRL players were involved in a phone hook-up with ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys this morning discussing a multitude of issues including the pay deal.

While the Warriors have been granted government approval, one of the sticking points for the New Zealand-based side has been the players' remuneration, with the club not impressed by the lack of information from the NRL.

According to the NZ Herald, the Warriors weren't prepared to relocate the squad for a period that could last five months without knowing the full extent of their employment conditions.

The Warriors have received support from rival teams, with players saying they will not begin training on May 4 until salaries are finalised for all 16 NRL clubs.

With negotiations ongoing between the Rugby League Players Association and the NRL, it has been reported that players might have to take a 50 percent pay cut for the final five months of the NRL season due to the expected drop in broadcast revenue.

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