Rugby league not included in new pilots for return of fans to elite sport

Rugby league has been omitted from the list of sports that will hold pilots for the return of fans to elite sport, announced by the Government.

Pilots planned for earlier this month were cancelled due to the increase of localised lockdowns, but a successful event was held at the World Snooker Championships final in Sheffield.

Super League had hoped to be chosen to hold pilot events, which would have enabled fans to return to games sooner rather than later.

It has already been announced that games up to September 11 will be played at central venues behind closed doors, namely Headingley and Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.

Test events will be held within football, basketball, rugby union, cricket, speedway and horse racing.

The rugby union event is a Premiership fixture between Harlequins and Bath on September 5.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “I know fans and their teams can’t wait to be reunited in stadia across the country but it’s imperative we take a cautious and phased approach to get fans back in safely.

“I’m pleased that infection rates have levelled off enough to resume the pilot programme and we will continue to work intensively with sports, medical and health and safety experts towards welcoming more fans back as fast as we can.”

It has hoped that these pilots, and further pilots held in September, will be successful with the view to a wider re-opening to fans from October.

The pilots will only take place if the latest scientific and medical advice allows for them to proceed in a Covid-secure way, and will be paused again if the advice suggests that conditions in the local area are not met.

There is no comment from Super League as yet, but it has once again been forced in to quick action following a further outbreak of coronavirus at Catalans, following the recent outbreak at Hull.

The latest outbreak has forced the Catalans game to be called off this weekend, while Wakefield are battling to ensure their game against Warrington goes ahead, despite a handful of their players being told to self-isolate.


    • Because rugby league doesn’t matter. Simple. It’s not in the interest of the whole of the country (so we are led to believe,).once again a putdown for the sport. When the game restarted it hardly got a mention in the media.

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