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Australian News

Victoria faces extreme new COVID-19 workplace shutdowns and restrictions


Victorians face fresh shortages of red meat, chicken, fish and even KFC across the state with new workplace shutdowns and restrictions to be announced today to hit the state’s abattoirs, fish markets and call centres.

Call centres will be shut down unless operating for emergency services after a coronavirus outbreak in a Centrelink call centre last month.

Abattoirs will not be completely closed, but their operations will be affected under tough new workplace rules for essential workers.

As anxious shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of meat and chicken on Sunday despite pleas not to panic buy, Victorian government sources also confirmed the new restrictions are likely to impact on supply chains.

Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open under the new restrictions but some other retail outlets are likely to face reduced operating hours to be detailed this afternoon.

Restaurants will remain open for takeaway food and some delivery services.

A draft document outlining proposed Victorian business shutdowns obtained by The Australian Financial Review today states that construction sites, manufacturing plants and car dealerships will be closed under the new rules.

The list has been thrashed out during a crisis meeting of Victorian cabinet today with some businesses moving into different columns as talks continued.

Federal government sources told news.com.au there were some last minute attempts to ensure that construction remains open in some form with stricter workplace safety rules.

Earlier, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned Victoria needed to be careful that it didn’t shutdown essential services.

“They need to bear in mind the balancing act,’’ he told Sunrise.

“They have to ensure that those essential services are going to continue to be provided, like our energy supply and manufacturing and construction and also to ensure that we can stem the tide of these cases by following these roles with these strict new restrictions in place.”

RELATED: Follow our live coverage of Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown

News.com.au understands that the Victoria’s Industry department is running projections on the impact of the changes to be announced today on supply chains for red meat, poultry and fish.

Ministers in the Victorian government remain in crisis meetings this morning over the details of the changes to be announced by the Premier Daniel Andrews this afternoon.

And Victoria’s crisis council of cabinet, which was established to combat coronavirus, is right now meeting to discuss the impact of new restrictions.

Health authorities are expected to announce 429 new infections in Victoria today. More than 11,500 cases have already been confirmed in the state.

Woolworths has already reintroduced purchase limits in Victorian stores on at least 50 products including meat, fish and dairy products.

A two packet limit per customer remains in force for frozen Vegetables, frozen potatoes, frozen fruit, fish, poultry, prepacked sausages from the meat department, prepacked burger patties, rissoles and meatballs from the meat department.

Eggs, flour, rice, sugar, hand sanitiser, long life milk, mince and paper towels also remain restricted.

Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters urged shoppers to remain calm and not panic buy.

“We understand this is an anxious time for our Victorian customers, but we encourage everyone to continue shopping as they usually would and only buy what they need,’’ she said on Sunday.

“Stock will continue to flow from our distribution centres and as an essential service, Woolworths supermarkets remain open to support customers’ food and grocery needs.

“We ask that our customers continue to adhere to our social distancing and hygiene measures while in store and continue to treat our team and each other with respect while shopping.”

RELATED: Bunnings CEO begs for hardware juggernaut to remain open

Over the weekend, Kentucky Fried Chicken confirmed that the shutdowns in Victoria had already forced some stores to limit opening hours.

“Our chicken supply has been disrupted in Victoria this week and some of our restaurants will only be open for limited hours or may have to close this weekend,” a KFC Australia spokesman said.

“We’re sorry for any issues this causes our customers – we’re doing everything we can to help our suppliers get back on track.”

Abattoirs have proved a site of major COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria as they have been around the world.

Cedar Meats, the source of a previous outbreak led to more than 100 infections confirmed last week that another worker had tested positive forcing the workplace back into isolation.

Mr Andrews flagged on Sunday that he would outline the tough, new restrictions on workplaces today in a move that could force businesses to stand down thousands of workers for up to six weeks.

“These are not easy decisions to make,” he said.

“That’s why we are taking a bit more time to make sure we have full visibility and understanding of what the impacts of those decisions would be, not just on workers and the business, but on those who rely on the goods.”

The Premier indicated businesses would be divided into three categories on which he would provide more detail this afternoon: those that are operating “business as usual” and will face “no impact”, those with reduced output, and a third category of businesses that would have no choice but to close.

“They’ll close and move exclusively to work from home, and if they can’t work from home the work simply won’t be done,” he said.

The extreme lockdown announced on Sunday already prohibits Melbourne residents venturing further than 5km radius from home even for supermarket supplies or medicine.

For the first time in Victorian history a curfew has been slapped on all residents of the Melbourne Metropolitan region between 8pm-5am with the only exemptions allowed to travel for work or medical treatment.

Only one person is allowed outside to buy food and essentials each day although there will be some exemptions for small children in the care of an adult who cannot be left at home with another adult.

Ubers and taxis are still allowed to operate but Victorians must wear a mask inside the vehicle and must sit in the back seat to comply with social distancing requirements.

Recreational activities have been banned and the only exercise allowed is for one hour a day and within a 5km radius of the family home.

Childcare centres are closed for families unless they qualify as essential workers and schools have returned to remote learning.



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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne faces stage four lockdown within days


Mr Andrews said his government was deeply worried that 49 “mystery cases” identified on Saturday could indicate the virus was spreading widely through the Melbourne community and confirmed he was in discussions with Prime Minister Scott Morrison about tougher restrictions.

The Premier provided no detail on what was being considered but sources close to the planning process say Melbourne could move to stage four, likely to be in force for six weeks, as early as Wednesday under the plan being considered. The rest of the state would be placed under the stage three lockdown that has been in force in the metro area for the past four weeks, with further school closures also likely to be enforced.

Drastic moves being considered as part of the stage four response include an almost total shutdown of Melbourne’s bus, tram and rail networks, stricter rules that would force residents to stay even closer to their homes and the shutdown of many more businesses, although cafes and restaurants would still be able to provide takeaway services.

Mr Andrews said further restrictions were needed to act as a “circuit breaker” to curb community transmission, as he acknowledged that tougher restriction would take an economic toll.

“We are giving due consideration to a whole range of different options,” the Premier said.

“Even minor changes have a significant cost.

“But the numbers are too high and there is a growing case for us to do more.

“What we may be doing now may not be enough.”

Active cases in the state’s aged care system on Saturday surged beyond 1000 – with outbreaks in 100 different homes – for the first time since the pandemic began. Mr Andrews said hospital nurses had now worked more than 570 shifts in care homes.

The worst cluster has been linked to St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner, which on Saturday had 134 cases. Epping Gardens Aged Care had 118 confirmed cases and the Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer had 105.

Days after at-risk aged care residents began moving into hospitals, some families were struggling to make contact with loved ones or to even get information about where they had been taken.

Mr Andrews, who said he had raised this problem with Mr Morrison, acknowledged efforts to connect families, including nurses carrying iPads and phones through hospitals, were “by no means good enough yet”.

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The Australian Medical Association and other medical experts have led growing calls for the type of tough stage four lockdown that has all but eliminated the virus in New Zealand but Victorian health authorities have been cautious, saying it was unclear if such an approach would work here due to the high levels of community transmission.

“The AMA’s position has been very clear: we called for a New Zealand-style full lockdown two weeks ago”, Victorian AMA president Julian Rait said.

The Department of Justice confirmed that the two workers on the quarantine hotels had tested positive to COVID-19 on July 25, after Corrections Victoria took over from private security contractors.

Since the start of the pandemic, Victoria has recorded 1841 community transmission cases, where the source of a person’s infection is not known.

Victoria had its second worst day of the pandemic on Friday, with 627 new cases and eight deaths.

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Local News - Victoria

Westpac faces class action over high interest car loans


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In some cases, he alleged that consumers were charged three times the base rate with rates not determined by objective criteria such as credit risk.

“The expectations of consumers was that the dealer was a conduit for, but was not setting, the interest rate,” Mr Watson said.

“This case will seek to prove that Westpac and St George failed to comply with their obligations under consumer credit protection laws and that this failure caused substantial losses for many consumers.”

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission banned the scheme in 2018, finding the car-yard practice was almost universal across the industry with commissions paid to dealers as high as 79 per cent of the insurance premium.

Flex commissions were criticised in the banking royal commission, which in its final report said: “Many borrowers knew nothing of these arrangements. Lenders did not publicise them; dealers did not reveal them. The dealer’s interest in securing the highest rate possible is obvious. It was the consumer who bore the cost.”

The lead applicant in Maurice Blackburn’s litigation is 25-year-old teacher’s aide Alannah Fox, who paid almost $25,000 in interest on a $47,000 loan for a 2015 Hyundai ix35.

She said she was only told about the 12.99 per cent annual interest rate after she agreed to the purchase.

“They didn’t tell me the interest rate until I went to pick up the car,” Ms Fox said.

“I feel they targeted me because I was young and eager to get into my first new car.”

Maurice Blackburn is also investigating commissions charged by Esanda, ANZ and Macquarie Bank before November 2018.

Westpac said it was yet to be served with a statement of claim so was unable to comment.

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Australian News

Century-old SANFL magazine faces uncertain future as digital edition abandoned


A 106-year-old magazine considered integral to SANFL football culture may never be printed again thanks to a season disrupted by coronavirus and an ongoing decline in sales.

The Budget has been touted by hawkers at suburban football matches since 1914. It’s a weekly magazine packed with player information, team stories, fixtures, and printed scorecards that many followers traditionally fill out at each game.

But this year the SANFL trialled a digital-only edition for the first two rounds of a delayed season — an experiment it said had been in the works for some time due to declining sales in print.

“Across all five [weekly] games last year, we were averaging between 1,400 and 1,900 sales per round, which reflects a steady decline in the past five years,” SANFL commercial operations general manager Neal Matotek said.

“Revenue from advertising sales had also declined significantly.

“This has resulted in a large net cost to fund its production and distribution.”

The inside of a football magazine with names of each player along with their statistics.
Filling out the printed score card in The Budget is tradition for many SANFL followers.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Digital edition fails to fire

Despite high hopes for the digital-only trial, fans were largely uninterested.

In the grandstands at Adelaide Oval, some fans instead brought notepads with ruled margins and hand-drawn player boxes so they could continue to fill out their own personal scorecards.

“With significantly reduced revenue because of fewer AFL matches being played at Adelaide Oval, neither SANFL nor our publisher could afford the commercial risk or cost of continuing to produce a weekly digital publication in this environment.”

He said the digital edition would be replaced by a 2020 Season Guide, with the long-term future of the magazine to be reviewed at the end of the season.

Mr Matotek said The Budget’s production and distribution was outsourced, with the equivalent of a full-time job and two casuals employed to sell the magazine at every match to be affected.

SANFL Grand Final 2018
A lack of crowds at the football in 2020 has also played a role in the magazine’s demise.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

A life-long tradition

Long-time SANFL supporter Tim Anson has been buying The Budget since he moved to Adelaide in 1979 and joined his grandparents in supporting Glenelg Football Club.

“They’re shouting, ‘Get your budget, get your budget’, really loud, and you can always have a chat with them.

“It’s good value, and quite often it’s young kids selling The Budget too.”

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Mr Anson said he was not the type to fill out the scorecard pages, but he did retain editions with the scribblings of some big football names instead.

“I’ve got one floating around somewhere where I got [Adelaide Crows player] Bryce Gibbs to sign it,” he said.

“That was when he played for Glenelg as a 17 or 18-year-old.”

He said fans had long used The Budget to match player numbers on the field to the names.

“It’s about the only way you could do it, but you could do it online now, I guess, if you’ve got your phone in front of you.”

App hits 150,000

Despite abandoning The Budget for the rest of the 2020 season, Mr Matotek said the SANFL’s digital platforms were “growing”.

Its SANFL app had about 150,000 users, which he said had led to “significantly higher viewership of our website content”.

“There is definitely an appetite from fans for local footy news and stories on SANFL players,” Mr Matotek said.

“They are now just being delivered via our digital platforms as an alternative to the traditional printed Football Budget.”



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Australian News

Albury faces lockdown to stop coronavirus


The NSW Government is considering enforcing lockdown in border communities, which would isolate them from the rest of the state.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said health officials were monitoring transmission rates “every few hours” and would lock down the border communities at very short notice if need be.

No decision has been made yet, but Ms Berejiklian said she did not want residents to be surprised if the restrictions came into effect “over the next few days”.

The new lockdown line could either stretch the Victorian border to the northern edge of Albury, and/or place the town in its own bubble. Extra police checkpoints would be set up north of Albury.

Ms Berejiklian said she was “extremely worried” about the level of transmission in Victoria, and said allowing residents living on the NSW-VIC border to continue moving around the state freely made it “highly probable” there would be a spike in cases around Sydney.

Residents of the border communities have been encouraged to stay put, and not travel elsewhere in NSW, while those living outside the communities are encouraged to stay out.

More than 50,000 exemptions to the border closure between New South Wales and Victoria were granted to residents in border communities overnight – but Ms Berejiklian said the government would look at tightening the exemption criteria if these residents appeared to pose any risk to greater NSW.

“The probability we need to be tougher on border restrictions is extremely high,” the Premier said.

The State Government is also urging any resident currently in Victoria to come home immediately, or be forced to complete a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Ms Berejklian said she would be announcing further changes to NSW’s lockdown restrictions around gatherings on Thursday morning.

There have been eight new cases, seven which were returned travellers in quarantine and an eighth a woman in her 30s from south western Sydney.

In Victoria, there were 134 new cases, sending the state’s total infections to 2942.

Premier Daniel Andrews has reinstated stage three restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, which will return to lockdown for the next six weeks, starting from 11.59pm on Tuesday.

More to come



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Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold faces increasing pressure after the team’s fifth straight loss


The knives may be out for Anthony Seibold but the Brisbane coach says he is not “looking over his shoulder” following Saturday’s disastrous 30-12 upset by the Gold Coast Titans.

Critics are queuing up to sink the slipper into a hapless Broncos, trailing 22-0 at half-time before being booed off Lang Park at the close, having posted a record loss against the lowly Titans.

Seibold is now under enormous pressure due to Brisbane’s freefall from fifth to second last since the NRL’s resumption last month.

The six-time premiers will be relegated to last on the ladder for the first time since 1999 if Canterbury overcome Wests Tigers on Sunday.

Seibold addressed the Broncos board on Friday, ahead of the Titans game, to detail his plans for a recovery in what the Brisbane mentor dismissed as a regulation, scheduled meeting with club powerbrokers.

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There is speculation Seibold may be hauled in again, this time with much-higher stakes.

However, Seibold — who is contracted to Brisbane until the end of 2022, with a one-year option — predicted it would be business as usual ahead of their next clash, against the Warriors.

“I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’m working as hard as I can. I’ll get up and go in the morning,” he said.

Seibold’s only consolation on a tough night was that Brisbane bounced back from the same 2-5 season start last year to make the finals.

“The last five weeks have been super challenging,” he said.

“(But) after seven rounds last year we’d won two games and were able to make the playoffs — that’s still our aim.”

Gold Coast NRL players embrace as they celebrate a try as Broncos players walk past in the foreground.
Brisbane fans were not impressed with their team’s performance in a big loss to the Gold Coast Titans.(AAP: Dan Peled)

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NRL great Cooper Cronk wasn’t so convinced, questioning the players’ pride in the jersey on a night when nothing went right for the Broncos.

Humbled by a Titans team that had won just one of their past 17 games, Brisbane were reduced to 11 men on the field in the dying moments after enforcer Matt Lodge went off with a knee injury, winger Corey Oates was sin binned and they ran out of interchanges with 16 minutes left.

Summing up their evening, the sponsors backdrop collapsed and fell on the heads of Broncos players at the post-match press conference.

“There were stages there where some of these highly-paid representative players just didn’t have a go or didn’t have an effort willing enough to represent the Broncos jersey,” Cronk said.

Centre and ex-Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd admitted the outside noise would only get louder, but was most hurt by their home crowd’s reaction.

“That’s what hurts my feelings the most — having a home crowd (booing),” he said.

AAP



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Business

World faces COVID debt time bomb, warns former Bank of England chief


The Bank of England’s current chief Andrew Bailey – a protégé of Lord King’s – has insisted that Britain’s banks are strong enough to survive the crisis and maintain lending after strengthening their reserves since the bailouts of 2008.

But Lord King said banks in Europe and China are “very fragile”, and warned that it is “always risky to say it’s safe”. He added: “What seem to be initially small losses can easily multiply and expand.”

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He said: “I think banks are going to realise they will experience significant losses, not so much on the loans they’ve made since the COVID-19 crisis became evident, but on pre-existing loans that looked very safe when they were made, but now look a lot more dubious.”

Bank of England officials warned last year about leveraged loans given out to risky companies across the world, with Mark Carney, governor at the time, saying the $US14 trillion ($20.4 trillion) market had “all the hallmarks” of the 2007/8 subprime mortgage bubble.

Lord King also said central banks around the world were making a “serious error” with a major expansion of money printing, which he warned “isn’t the answer to every cause of slower economic growth”.

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Australian News

Cricket Australia still faces discord with state organisations despite Kevin Roberts’ departure as CEO


The chief executive is gone but Cricket Australia’s problems remain.

NSW Cricket chairman John Knox has confirmed his state has “no intention” of making cuts to staff as the national body calls for savings to be made.

Cricket Australia (CA) is searching for its third chief executive in two years as Kevin Roberts resigned last week only 18 months into his term.

Roberts found himself on the outer with a number of states and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), who refused to deal with him after he claimed the COVID-19 pandemic left the sport in a dire financial position despite no games being lost and a lucrative tour by India still to take place this summer.

While head office said it has slashed $40 million from its expenses, and cut 40 staff, others are not keen to act so quickly.

“We continue to invest significantly in the game of cricket,” Knox told The Ticket.

“We continue to invest in our community cricket, we’ve got nearly 90 people employed in delivering critical cricket services to the grass roots and we’re going to continue to invest hard and grow the game.

“We’ve deliberately made the decision that we think the summer of cricket looks great ahead of us and we’re going to continue to grow what we think is the greatest game in the country.”

Chairman of the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) Tuck Waldron said his state had committed to minimal change.

“We’ve made some small staff changes, a small amount of redundancies — around 11 — three of which were voluntary redundancies.

“We’ve changed some of the jobs to job sharing.

The ACA declined to comment given they are currently in negotiations with CA.

CA ‘has always been a bit of a secret society’: Chappell

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell said there wasn’t a partnership between players and the CA board under Kevin Roberts.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said head office had to deal with issues of trust.

“If you look at everything you’ve been hearing from the ACA … they’ve suggested all along that they’re not happy with the figures they’ve been presented with and they’re not sure they’re seeing either the full picture or the true picture,” he said.

“The thing is, to be successful and to grow the game it’s got to be a partnership between the players and the board and it certainly wasn’t that under the last MOU (memorandum of understanding) and Kevin Roberts was heavily involved in that mistrust.”

The next chief executive of Cricket Australia faces an immediate challenge in earning back the trust of the players and the states.

Waldron said the role required a “people person” if the sport was to regain its position as one of the most respected sports in the country.

“Above all, sport like everything else is about people,” he said.

“The key for me is honesty, integrity and being upfront and taking people with you.

“The great achievements used to come when people took others with them on a journey — and that’s what we need.

“There’s been a bit of an upset in cricket in the last couple of years but let’s hope now we can get in a position and go forward.” 

Working together key for new CEO

His NSW counterpart agreed.

“It’s just about leadership,” Knox said.

Chappell said the CA board had one thing in its favour after the departure of Roberts.

“What the board could now say is ‘all the people from the board involved in that last MOU have now gone, whereas nothing’s changed at the top of the ACA’,” he said.

“So if there is still acrimony when it comes to discuss the next MOU, Cricket Australia could possibly quite easily point the finger and say ‘well we’ve made changes, you haven’t’.”



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Australian News

NBA’s July restart faces player concerns that games could distract from calls for change after death of George Floyd


The NBA’s return to play is just weeks away, but there is disagreement among basketballers past and present on whether going back to games is the right thing to do or will distract from the Black Lives Matter movement.

The NBA was shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the league approved a plan to resume the season at a hub in the ESPN Wide World of Sport complex inside Disney World’s vast Orlando resort in Florida.

The NBA opted to have 22 out of the 30 teams take part, playing eight seeding games to determine a 16-team playoff field.

The competition is set to resume on July 31, with a champion crowned no later than October 12.

During the shutdown, the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis, after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, has given rise to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality.

American and world sport are coming to grips with the new landscape, with a variety of protests and statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologised to players for not supporting their past kneeling protests — led by ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — during the American national anthem.

Players are becoming vocal — former NBA legend Michael Jordan has called for justice for Floyd and later announced his Jordan Brand would donate $US100 million ($145.7 million) over the next decade to help fight for racial equality.

Among current players, Australian-born Kyrie Irving — who won an NBA Championship ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers before moving to the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets — and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley are leading a coalition that is actively talking about the return to play.

“We are truly at an inflection point in history where, as a collective community, we can band together — UNIFY — and move as one,” the coalition wrote in a statement to ESPN.

“We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.

“As an oppressed community, we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP / Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.

“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!”

“The league has a responsibility to our communities in helping to empower us — just as we have made the NBA brand strong.”

Los Angeles Lakers star centre Dwight Howard said he agreed with Irving.

“I would love nothing more than to win my first NBA Championship.

“But the unity of my people would be an even bigger championship, that’s too beautiful to pass up.”

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Milwaukee Bucks veteran Kyle Korver says he will be guided by what his black teammates and friends feel is right.

“If my black teammates and friends and brothers feel like the best way to go about real change is to not play, I stand with them. I’m OK with that.

“On the other side, I am on a team that feels like we could win and I have never won. I would like to win. So, is there a way to do both? I think there’s a conversation there.”

A top basketball executive speaks as he stands in front of microphones at a press conference.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admits it is a difficult time to be trying to revive the basketball season.(Reuters/Kyodo Kyodo,file photo)

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he has a sense that the league should be able to “work through” the issues with players over the next few weeks ahead of the restart.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Silver said regarding a series of issues the NBA is facing in an appearance on Monday night’s “The Return of Sports” special on ESPN.

“We are trying to find a way to our own normalcy in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of essentially a recession or worse with 40 million unemployed, and now with enormous social unrest in the country.

“And so as we work through these issues, I can understand how some players may feel, that it’s not for them … it may be for family reasons, it may be for health reasons they have, or it may be because they feel — as some players have said very recently — that their time is best spent elsewhere.”

Dissent from some players over sitting out

The coalition’s view is not universal among players, however.

Former Nets player Matt Barnes is not on board with Irving’s stance.

“Kyrie needs to stop bullshitting,” Barnes said on Instagram Live.

“And then it also divides us.”

Another who disagrees is the Houston Rockets’ Austin Rivers.

“I love Kyrie’s passion towards helping this movement. It’s admirable and inspiring, I’m with it … but in the right way and not at the cost of the whole NBA and players’ careers,” he said.

“But cancelling or boycotting return doesn’t do that in my opinion.

“Guys want to play and provide and help change!”

Reuters/ABC



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Off-contract NRL players could be in ‘limbo’ as top player agent faces deregistration


There are concerns some off-contract players may have to confront an uncertain future in the NRL, with a prominent agent facing deregistration from the league.

The NRL has called for Isaac Moses’s registration as a player agent to be cancelled after finding he helped a client lie to the league’s integrity unit.

According to NRL disciplinary proceedings, Moses assisted former Parramatta prop Tim Mannah to give false and misleading evidence to the integrity unit in 2017, reportedly regarding third-party payments within the Eels’ salary cap.

If Moses is deregistered, it could have huge ramifications for players and team lists as they stand, because players could terminate their contracts with the agent.

Players pay Moses a 6 per cent management fee, on which they could also renege.

Moses has denied any wrongdoing and will appeal the decision. He is free to continue as an agent — despite the NRL’s findings — while any appeal process runs its course.

He is one of the most influential figures in the game, with his client base including Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses, Canberra pair Josh Hodgson and John Bateman and Tigers star Luke Brooks.

A Melbourne NRL player wipes his nose with his warm-up shirt before a match.
Cameron Smith is Isaac Moses’s most high-profile client.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

But retired New South Wales State of Origin representative Jamie Soward said younger off-contract players, who have been under Moses’s guidance, might be affected by the NRL’s ruling.

He said those players — especially fringe first-graders — could be hindered in the contract negotiation process because of a lack of agent representation.

“The alarming thing is if they’re off-contract, a lot of players that’ve had Isaac as a manager are in limbo,” Soward said.

Soward said less-experienced players benefit from having an agent handle contract negotiations.

“Younger guys will definitely be worried about what to do from here,” he said.

“Contract year is never nice. It’s the manager’s job to ring around for you, especially with the salary cap changing. It’s a tough time if you’re off-contract this year.

Soward, however, said there could be a silver lining for those players.

“[For] a lot of those younger guys who probably weren’t getting the attention the bigger names do, this may be a blessing in disguise,” he said.

“You can go out there, get yourself into the market and get a player agent that suits you.”

Soward said he would welcome the demise of the major player agents.

“The elite player agents have always had a big farm to pick from and get the best (players),” he said.

“Sometimes they’re busy with the top-end guys and there’s a lot of guys that go by the wayside. That’s changing, so player agents aren’t taking on 50 or so clients just by themselves.”

Moses to challenge NRL ruling

Moses’s company, Cove Agency, has refuted the NRL’s findings.

“Cove Agency continues to deny all allegations made against Isaac Moses by the NRL,” Cove said on Instagram.

Brisbane captain Alex Glenn said Moses was confident he would be able to clear his name.

“I spoke to Isaac yesterday when I heard the news and he reassured me that he’s all safe, he’s going to appeal it,” he said.

“I know he represents a lot of us boys but he reassured [me] that all of us lads were in safe hands and he’s not worried about the case that’s happening on his end.

“He reassured myself and other players at this club that we have nothing to worry about.”

Aside from a strong stable of NRL players, Cove also represents NRLW stars Kezie Apps, Ali Brigginshaw and Millie Boyle.

Ali Brigginshaw attempts to break the New Zealand defensive line.
Brisbane Broncos star Ali Brigginshaw is one of three Jillaroos listed as clients on Cove Agency’s website.(AAP: Darren England)

Interim NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said player agents need to follow the guidelines set by the league.

“Player agents have a very influential role in the game and with the players they represent,” he said.

“Where agents fail to adhere to the standards expected of them, we will intervene to take action under the NRL rules.

“That is what we have done in this case after a thorough investigation by the league’s integrity and compliance unit.”

Cove’s client base also includes Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale and former NRL stars Matt Bowen and Anthony Minichiello.



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