Leeds could face RFL action for axing Catalans trip over coronavirus concerns


The Rugby Football League has repeated its threat to punish Leeds Rhinos for calling off their Saturday’s Super League game at Catalans Dragons – despite fears that the club had been struck by coronavirus.

Rhinos chiefs took the decision shortly before they were due to fly to Barcelona on Friday after one of their players displayed symptoms of the virus. Subsequent tests on the unnamed player proved negative.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer told BBC Radio Five Live: “It (a sanction) is
a possibility.

“We spoke with Leeds at some length this week on that particular issue. We’ve applied all the guidelines that the government asked us to observe, and Leeds took a unilateral decision not to travel to that fixture. That will follow due process now.”

Leeds, who had no comment, were due to travel on a scheduled Jet2 flight, and return on Sunday. On Saturday, Jet2 planes bound for Spain turned around mid-flight after new restrictions imposed by the Spanish government.

Rugby league is one of the few sports which is continuing despite the coronavirus outbreak, although a meeting between club officials on Monday may yield a decision to postpone future games.

Also on Sunday, Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to announce that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Garay revealed the news on his Instagram account, writing: “I’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, I feel great and now all that’s left is to listen to the health authorities. For the moment, I have to be isolated.”

Following Garay’s announcement, Valencia issued a statement confirming that five positive cases…

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