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Roughriders Debut in National Arena League Delayed

WHEELING — The West Virginia Roughriders debut in the National Arena League has been delayed.

“We’re just like everything else in the world right now,” Roughriders owner Gregg Fornario said. “We’re no different than anybody else.”

The league announced Friday that the 2020 season will take place. However, the board of directors discussed making adjustments to the 2020 schedule in response to the news surrounding COVID-19, the coronavirus.

“The fans, players and staff members health and safety is our top priority,” NAL Commissioner Chris Siegfried said in a press release.

The league said some NAL arenas have made announcements that affect some currently scheduled games. The league is working through multiple scenarios which could include a short delay to the start of our 2020 season. The board of directors will monitor the information provided to us and adapt accordingly. Since the games have not yet started, it allows the League an opportunity to make any necessary changes.

We want to reassure our fans, players, sponsors and staff members that once this passes, the 2020 NAL season will be played.

“We’re going to wait it out for as long as we have to,” Fornario said. “If that means starting the season in June, then we’ll start in June.”

The West Virginia Roughriders, along with the six NAL teams, were set to open training camp this week in preparation for their first season in the National Arena League. Their highly anticipated debut on Saturday, April 4 against the defending NAL champion Jacksonville inside WesBanco Arena has been postponed, but will be made up at a later date, according to the team.

“Across the nation some of the cities that we play in have an entertainment event ban,” Fornario said. “New Jersey has a ban of no more than 250 people in one place at the same time and that is in affect for 30 days. Hopefully, after that 30-day period everything gets back to normal.”

Fornario said in a perfect world, the season would begin now on April 18.

“But that is not set in stone. Nothing is at this point. We’re just taking baby steps and going one day at a time until we find out what’s going on.”

The Roughriders, who went 13-0 in the initial season in the Friendly City while winning the American Arena League championship last summer, re-located from Richmond, Va., prior to last season. They play their home games inside WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling.

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