RFL response as rail strikes to hit Magic Weekend

James Gordon
St James Park Newcastle for Magic Weekend

Photo: Simon Whitehead/News Images

Magic Weekend is one of a number of sporting events due to be hit by planned rail strikes in the coming months.

Unions revealed on Friday four strike dates, including Saturday June 3, which is the first day of this year’s Magic Weekend at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

It also the same date as the FA Cup final and the Epsom Derby.

Such is the predicted impact, the possibility had been raised of moving the FA Cup final away from Wembley, though the FA have since stated they will go ahead as planned.

Other strike action is planned for May 12 and 13, clashing with the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, and May 31.

What the RFL have said

The governing body confirmed that it was already looking to minimise the impact the strikes will have on Magic Weekend.

An RFL spokesperson said: “We are in the process of assessing the impact of these strikes on relevant services across the Magic Weekend.

“It is our understanding the action will be restricted to Saturday June 3, so hopefully those planning to travel on Friday 2nd or Sunday 4th will not be affected – but clearly, any impact on services on Saturday 3rd would be unhelpful, and we will work with clubs and supporters to find alternatives.”

A train strike previously hit the 2018 Super League Grand Final, while the Challenge Cup’s previous regular slot on Bank Holiday Monday in August was often hit by train cancellations and maintenance work.

Railway workers are going on strike due to long-running disputes over pay, job cuts and terms and conditions, amidst the cost of living crisis.

What is expected to be the penultimate Magic Weekend takes place on June 3/4, with all games broadcast live on Sky Sports.

The weekend kicks off with Salford’s game against Hull KR at 1.30pm on the Saturday, before Wigan take on Catalans (3.45pm) and Leeds play Castleford  (6pm)to round-off the day.

On the Sunday, Wakefield start the day against Leigh (12.30pm), then St Helens take on Huddersfield (2.45pm) and Hull face Warrington (5pm).

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