Rugby league hoping to get Government go ahead for fans to return at end of September

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The RFL and Super League are hopeful of welcoming fans back to Super League at the end of September, despite being left out of the latest list of elite sport pilot events last night.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced a list of events across football, rugby union, cricket, basketball, horse racing and speedway to test for the safe return of fans to elite sport.

They are designed to demonstrate that fans can return in a manner that will limit the spread of Covid-19 – including social distancing, limited crowding points, controlled bookings and seating arrangements, capacity restrictions and NHS Test and Trace.

Should the pilot events be a success, the Government wants to allow fans to return to live sport from October 1.

An RFL spokesperson said: “We are still hopeful that the 30 September round of Super League could be included in the pilot. This has been our target date throughout discussions with DCMS.

“October 1 is the government’s ultimate milestone, but season ticket holders, and broadcast and commercial partners, who have shown immense forbearance and goodwill, would not wish to lose an opportunity to have spectators at games for the sake of a few hours.

“The 30/9 round of Super League fixtures benefits the wider sports sector as a set of pilot events. It adds to the pilot programme with a full round of fixtures, as per a standard sporting calendar, that would be a significant learning for both operational colleagues in stadia and in managing logistics remotely.”

The recent outbreaks of coronavirus within Super League are not believed to have impacted on whether rugby league was chosen to hold pilot events.

The round of games currently slated to get underway on September 30, a Wednesday, includes Wigan against St Helens and Castleford versus Hull. Catalans would travel to Leeds, Salford host Warrington and Hull KR visit Huddersfield.

Games are currently scheduled to be played at central venues behind closed doors up to September 12.

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