The National Conference League has been suspended for 2020 – but there will be a regionalised group of fixtures.
Early July is being eyed by professional sport as a potential restart date – but only behind closed doors – and permission to stage events that will attract more than 500 people will be further down the list, which would include some NCL games.
The NCL wouldn’t be able to recommence until late July or early August – and that would be make it near impossible to get all the competition’s fixtures fulfilled.
As a result, the season has been suspended but there will be a series of regionalised group fixtures which will be a creation of a number of local derbies.
NCL chairman Trevor Hunt said: “It is with some sadness that the NCL management has unanimously decided to suspend the 2020 season for one that will be replaced by a series of regionalised group fixtures.
“There will be no promotion or relegation but by the creation of a number of local derby games, it is hoped that the clubs will be able to maximise revenue from good sized attendances and at the same time saving on the amount of travel that will be required.
“There has been much speculation on how the regional groupings will be determined and how many fixtures they will provide.
“That will very much depend on a fixture start date being provided by the RFL in agreement with the government. We have a number of options that give a varying number of fixtures and which are flexible in the way they can be organised to give more or less games as the pandemic events unfold.
“What we will do is provide a meaningful competition that will give the players, coaches and fans something to aspire to along with an ultimate Championship final. The details will be revealed once we have a commencement date to work towards.
“We will of course enable the players two to three weeks to get back into a fitness regime with their clubs ahead of commencing fixtures.”
Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.