Community and social rugby league will return from March 29.
It has been 12 months since the coronavirus outbreak led the suspension of all activity and although the community game returned briefly and partially in the autumn, it is now hoped that rugby league is back for good.
March 29 will mark the beginning of a phased return towards full contact rugby league – including four weeks of training from March 29, a fortnight of friendlies from April 24 and a resumption of competitions from May 8.
Social and non-contact variations of the game – such as Touch RL, Try Tag RL and X-League – will also resume from this day, while Masters Rugby League is expected to return when members are finally allowed to socialise more freely off the pitch.
During the downtime, more than £10million has been invested into the grass roots game via CreatedBy, the RLWC2021 capital grants programme.
RFL director of participation and development Marc Lovering said: “By the end of this month rugby league, in all its variations and at all levels, will be back. It’s been a long time, but finally we can all look forward to enjoying the game we love. Clubs and their volunteers have done a fantastic job over the past 12 months in extremely challenging circumstances.
“We still have to be on our guard. Covid hasn’t gone away and we need to be vigilant. A phased return will allow players to adjust to contact rugby league for the first time in a long time, and allow time for clubs to understand and test their Covid protocols. It’s crucial that these protocols are adhered to, and that all activity is delivered in line with our government-approved action plan. Non-approved activity will leave organisers open to enforcement activity from various agencies, as well as negating insurance policies.
“We learned a lot from the trial games last Autumn and I’m grateful to the clubs and competition organisers involved for helping us demonstrate to government that we can provide a safe environment within rugby league. It’s important now that we continue to do so and that we don’t fall at the final hurdle. We are almost there, but just two positive cases at a single club could set us right back.”