Queensland rugby league club Mackay Cutters have been threatened with the loss of their license for all QRL statewide competitions after deciding not to travel to Papua New Guinea for a match.
In Papua New Guinea’s first home game since 2019, the qualifiers were scheduled to play the PNG Predators in Port Moresby.
However, more than 10,000 tickets were sold after the organizers said that they will not train the team or travel to the game.
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There have been ongoing security concerns in PNG due to civil unrest, along with the threat of both Covid-19 and foot-and-mouth disease.
“The QRL Board completed an extensive independent risk assessment before giving permission for play to resume.” QRL said in a statement.
“QRL said today that the decision of the scrutineers not to travel to Port Moresby is considered a breach of the Participation Agreement.
“If the umpires fail to remedy the breach of the participation agreement, the current participation agreement will be terminated and they will be banned from all QRL statewide competitions.
The referees have been asked to respond to the allegations and will be required to show why the club should continue to participate in the QRL statewide competitions in 2023.
The QRL said earlier this month it would not allow groups from Townsville and Burleigh to travel to PNG, and the official Australian government travel advisory called on people to “reconsider travel” to the country.
The Courier-Mail reports that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has stepped in and backed security demands from QRL.
“The people of PNG love their support for rugby league and our relationship is very important to Australia,” Albanese said.