RFL confirms cancellation of Reserves League for 2020

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

The Rugby Football League has confirmed the cancellation of the recently re-launched Reserves League for 2020.

The decision came as part of its ongoing dialogue and consultation regarding the impact of coronavirus on the game.

Clubs will still be encouraged to play friendly matches – and it is envisaged that the competition will resume in 2021.

With all rugby league activity currently suspended, cancelling the remainder of the 2020 season is a recognition of the need to focus on re-arranging postponed first-team matches and to ensure player welfare and competition integrity.

RFL chief on-field officier, Dave Rotheram, said: “We have had extensive discussions with clubs about how best to amend our schedules for the Reserves League, Academy Championship and Under-16s Scholarship in this unprecedented period, bearing in mind the three pillars of player welfare, competition integrity and financial sustainability.

“We regarded the revival of a Reserves League as an important step forward this year, the clubs were supportive of that, and the season had started well until the abrupt suspension of all Rugby League activity last month.

“We have to recognise that the priority for clubs whenever activity can resume will be completing the first-team season – and that is why we have cancelled the Reserves League for 2020.

“But equally, clubs are aware that they have invested in the return of reserves, and made commitments to players, so we will be encouraging them to be imaginative in finding ways to provide competitive rugby for squad players, by arranging friendly fixtures which could involve pooling players between clubs, or even playing Nines matches or festivals.”

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