Queensland rugby league club Mackay Cutters have been threatened with losing their license for all QRL statewide competitions after deciding they would not travel to Papua New Guinea for a match.
The Cutters were scheduled to play in Port Moresby against the PNG Hunters, in the latter’s first home game in Papua New Guinea since 2019.
However the Cutters have said they will not field a team nor travel for the game, in a major blow given over 10,000 tickets have been sold for the homecoming.
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There have been ongoing security concerns in PNG due to civil unrest along with fears over both Covid-19 and foot and mouth disease.
“The QRL Board completed an extensive independent risk assessment prior to giving approval for the game to proceed.,” the QRL said in a statement.
“The QRL said today the Cutters’ decision to not travel to Port Moresby was considered a breach of the Participation Agreement.
“If the Cutters are unable to remedy the breach of the Participation Agreement, they will be suspended from all QRL statewide competitions as their current Participation Agreement will be terminated.
“The Cutters have been requested to respond to the allegation and will be required to show cause as to why the club should continue their involvement in QRL statewide competitions in 2023.”
The QRL said earlier this month it would not allow teams from Townsville and Burleigh to travel to PNG, and the official Australian government travel advice calls for people to “reconsider travel” to the nation.
The Courier-Mail reported Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had stepped in and would support requests for security from the QRL.
“The people of PNG are passionate in their support for Rugby League and our relationship is of critical importance to Australia,” Albanese said.