National Rugby League Clubs Manly, Canberra Pushing For Game In China, Seeking Decision
National Rugby League clubs Canberra Raiders and Manly Sea Eagles were to "meet with the NRL on Thursday to find out whether a proposed fixture in China goes ahead in 2014," according to Lee Gaskin of the CANBERRA TIMES. Both clubs and "their respective sponsors -- Huawei and Kaspersky -- are pushing for the historic game, but concede it won't happen at all if it is put on the backburner." The "major sticking points" center around who will "underwrite the fixture, the length of the agreement and concerns for the welfare of players who have to back up in representative games the following week." The annual costs of staging the game are about A$1.5M ($1.3M), but Huawei Corporate & Public Affairs Dir Jeremy Mitchell said, "It definitely has to happen next year. We've been openly disappointed they [the NRL] have come on board late, but they have hired the consultants so they understand the full potential." Manly has "proposed moving its round eight home game -- pencilled in for Sunday, April 27" -- to the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The match has been allocated to Fox Sports and the "pay-TV provider would need to approve a change if Channel Nine wants to broadcast the first game played outside of Australia or New Zealand for premiership points" (CANBERRA TIMES, 12/19).