Attendance for Sunday’s NRL Grand Final at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium has been capped at 39,000, with suggestions that the match could even be postponed due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Queensland.
Suncorp Stadium can seat 52,500 fans but the NRL confirmed today (Thursday) that it will only be operating at 75% capacity after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that stage-two COVID-19 restrictions will be in place across areas of Southeast Queensland.
The new measures, which will be in place for two weeks from today, have been announced after six new cases of COVID-19 were reported locally.
Ticketek will automatically refund tickets to the final 25% of fans who purchased seats in each Grand Final selling allocation. NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said a ‘first in’ policy will determine the allocation of tickets at a reduced capacity.
Fans impacted by the reduction in capacity will be contacted today. All fans have also been given the opportunity to access a refund if they no longer wish to attend the match.
Abdo said: “We had two allocations of Grand Final tickets. The first was to the general public and the second was aimed at fans of both Grand Final teams.
“The fairest way to determine who can attend the game is by prioritising the first 75% to purchase tickets in each allocation. Any fan who no longer wants to attend will also be able to access a refund.
“I want to acknowledge fans who will now miss out on attending the Grand Final. I know you had been counting down the days to a once in a lifetime experience and this will be difficult news to take, but this decision is out of our hands.”
Abdo also acknowledged the efforts made by the Queensland Government to ensure the safety of fans and continuity of the competition. Abdo said that he has “no doubt there will be a great atmosphere” at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday but reports have suggested that the match could be postponed at short notice.
The Australian Associated Press news agency has reported that the next 24 hours will be “critical” in deciding whether Suncorp Stadium can host the match as planned.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys told the AAP: “We’re in the hands of the Queensland Government, naturally, and we’re confident in their ability. But we’ve got contingency plans for every scenario and we’ve just got to take each day as it comes and look at what’s going on and make the appropriate decisions.