RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer has highlighted the impact rugby league has made on working class communities.
Last month, the RFL asked the government for financial support as part of its business rescue package.
Rimmer remains hopeful the governing body will receive the government’s backing to ease financial strain on the game during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “There is no date yet for the resumption of team sport – and we know it may be more impacted than other types of activity.
“Last season we reported a third consecutive year of increased participation across junior, youth and open age rugby league.
“This is positive especially against the backdrop of a national drop in the activity levels of people aged 16-34.
“It is vital that now more than ever our sport works together to ensure we continue on this upward trajectory despite the challenges we all face.”
Sport England’s Active Lives report showed that physical activity levels were on the rise in the run-up to the coronavirus outbreak.
But the report also pointed out the ‘sobering reality’ that if you are well off you are more likely to be active than if you are not.
Rimmer continued: “People in lower socio-economic groups are less likely to be active, as are people from ethnic backgrounds.
“Half of all rugby league players in all settings are from the most economically disadvantaged communities.
“The sport excels at providing outstanding sporting opportunities and life chances for communities that matter and must not be left behind.
“The RFL will work tirelessly with clubs, foundations and volunteers to do whatever we can, with what we have, to ensure that playing levels are not adversely affected by the profound impact of the crisis, as well as continuing to provide all the wider social impacts that are now synonymous with rugby league.”
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