While the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday brought good news in terms of welcoming fans back to stadia, it provided a fresh headache for the RFL.
They had been working hard with both Catalans and Toulouse to find the best way of managing their participation in the Super League and Championship respectively.
But a change to the quarantine rules impacting elite sportspersons, means that players returning to the UK from France will need to isolate for 10 days, though that can be reduced to five if a negative test is provided.
While this doesn’t impact the full-time professionals in Super League, who are allowed to train and compete throughout their quarantine period, it is a different story for part-time players in the Championship.
An RFL spokesman said: “The RFL has contacted all clubs in the Betfred Championship this morning regarding the implications of the changes to the quarantine rules for elite sportspersons returning to the UK.
“We understand the challenges this will pose to part-time clubs and are working through the options.”
As we reported last week, the RFL and the clubs had been working together to find the best solution, including fixture arrangements, travel and the implementation of the points percentage system in both competitions.
But this change to regulations could have a major impact on Toulouse’s ability to compete.
They are not due to have a home game until April 17th, having decided not to participate in the Challenge Cup, with their opening league game away at York on Easter weekend.
York coach James Ford said: “I think it will be a really tough situation.
“I used to be a teacher and getting a couple of days off to go to Toronto or Toulouse during the year wasn’t ideal but the college worked around it.
“Going back in the play-offs at short notice was a challenge and, if I’m perfectly honest, I wouldn’t fancy going in to ask for 10 days off because we’re going to Toulouse.
“Multiply that by 25 players who are going and it will be an immense challenge.
“I think you’d need to find a sharper mind than mine to find some ways around it and appease everybody.”
It is hoped that the regulations will change by May, though concerns remain that the situation could have a major impact on the promotion battle in the Championship.
Toulouse will enter the season as favourites, following Leigh’s elevation to Super League.