Leeds Rhinos player cleared of coronavirus

The Leeds Rhinos player tested for coronavirus does not have the illness.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 14th March 2020, 6:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th March 2020, 6:30 pm
Anti-coronavirus mesures are being taken at Emerald Headingley Stadium. Picture by Allan McKenzie SWpix.com
Anti-coronavirus mesures are being taken at Emerald Headingley Stadium. Picture by Allan McKenzie SWpix.com

Rhinos decided not to travel to Spain for Saturday's scheduled Betfred Super League clash against Catalans Dragons, due to be played behind closed doors at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan, on medical grounds.

Rhinos were concerned about potentially spreading the virus after a player showed coronavirus symptoms earlier in the week.

He was sent for a private test on Friday and the result has returned as negative.

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Sue Ward. Picture by Andrew Varley.

The club say the player will "continue to be managed in line with the current Department of Health guidance", but the squad will return to full training on Monday to prepare for Friday’s Betfred Super League game against St Helens at Emerald Headingley.

So far, the game is France is the only rugby league fixture called off during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rhinos have introduced changes to its day to day business operations and match day protocols and procedures based on the advice of health officials regarding COVID-19.

The changes are designed to protect the health and safety of players and fans and will mean a reduced level of interaction during the week and on matchdays.

Among the measures, effective immediately, are:

Players have been advised to minimise contact with the public and non-essential personnel. This includes limiting physical contact with supporters at venues;

Players are advised to avoid handshakes, autographs and selfies to limit the risk of infection;

The ticket office front counter will be closed during opening hours and any fans who visit the stadium to purchase tickets or make ticket-related enquiries will be directed to the ticket office transfer windows on the inside of the stadium.

Rhinos' Headingley Stadium store will remain open as normal, but the club are encouraging fans to order online.

Dressing room access will be restricted to to players and essential staff;

The Rhinos are taking reasonable steps to limit club-organised player contact with community organisations;

All club personnel have been encouraged to cancel all non-essential meetings or arrange to meet digitally

The club and players have taken additional steps to ensure enhanced hygiene at training and playing facilities.

Sue Ward, Rhinos' operations director, said: "Our priority is the health and safety of everyone who uses Emerald Headingley Stadium, which includes our players, staff and customers.

"As well as the stadium, at our training ground we will have a strict entry policy to limit the amount of people who have access.

"Our medical staff have kept the players and coaches fully briefed on best practise and we will continue to monitor the situation and take our lead from the authorities."

Ward added: “We are following the guidelines set down by the UK government and will have extra measures in place for the St Helens game, including hand gel available to supporters and signage to remind spectators of the extra precautions they can take to protect themselves, as set down by Public Health England.”