Respected sports journalist?https://wwos.nine.com.au/nrl/peter-...r-crowds/b0d776b4-219c-48bd-9339-6c657a497725
Respected sports journalist Peter FitzSimons fears the extraordinary ability of Peter V'landys to get his way could see governments "cave" to his ambition to have crowds back at NRL games in July.
Speaking on Wide World of Sports Five Minutes with Fitzy, the former Wallaby marvelled at the ability of the "most influential" sports administrator in Australia to bend even the most formidable opponent to his will.
He said that the return of crowds would risk a public health disaster but conceded V'landys was capable of making it a reality after doing the seemingly impossible by getting the NRL back on the field on May 28, a date that was initially scoffed at as over ambitious.
"The worst that can happen is the government says, 'Oh Mr V'landys, yes Mr V'landys, yes that will be done, May 28 will be done, yes we'll go to July 1st, crowds are open, let the turnstiles spin'," FitzSimons responded when challenged by James Bracey, before citing the disastrous consequences of a European football match between Italian club Atalanta and Spanish club Valencia back in February.
"And then the worst that can happen is, what happened when that team in Italy played that team in Spain – the biological time bomb that went off.
"The worst that can happen is, the government once again caves in, and says 'everybody through the gates,' and somebody in the crowd has got it and then it spreads around.
"Say it for what it is James (Bracey), that's madness."
That answer led to a robust conversation with Bracey, who said he trusted the government processes that led to public health regulations being loosened.
Bracey: I'm just trusting the process If the government is ticking off on whatever they want to happen.
FitzSimons: So, you thought it was fine everyone stopped at the traffic lights for two months, and the premier and the prime minister go, 'rugby league, you've been observing all the protocols, you come forward'
You what thought was fine?
Bracey: Absolutely, the footy is back
FitzSimons: That will do me.
NRL wants crowds back at games
The Sydney Morning Herald columnist and best-selling author then admitted to a grudging respect for V'landys for pushing the boundaries to try to get the best result for his sport.
"Most influential, there would be nobody that would get close to him in terms of his power and influence," he added.
"He's arguing his turf, pushing his corner. From the view of sport, rugby league – you bloody beauty.
"I choose to think there are wider concerns than just the narrow band of what's good for sport.
"I'm not alone on this whatsoever, the broad mass of the populist thinks it doesn't make sense that sport be the one that goes first.
"The truth of it is, at the point that the government caved in on sport, they had to cave on pretty much everything else, which is more or less what they're doing.
"I hope everything turns out fine."