Rugby league suspended due to coronavirus pandemic

James Gordon

The rugby league season in the UK has been suspended until April 3 – including all Super League, Championship, League 1 and women’s games.

This follows the latest government advice regarding social contact and mass gatherings, and comes after a lengthy meeting between Super League club chairmen on Monday.

Lower league club chairmen are due to meet tomorrow to discuss the implications of the suspension.

There had been hopes that Super League particularly would be able to continue behind closed doors, after rugby league defied much of the sporting world in playing as normal over the weekend.

In a joint statement, Robert Elstone, the Executive Chairman of Super League Europe, and Ralph Rimmer, CEO of Rugby Football League said: “These are unprecedented times, and they present significant financial and commercial implications for Rugby League, which will be further considered during the period of suspension.

“Super League is also an international competition, and consideration has to be given to our clubs in Canada and France, particularly around travel restrictions and scheduling fixtures.

“Player welfare and maintaining the integrity of the competition are key concerns moving forward. Equally our responsibilities to Rugby League communities remain front of mind for all of us.

“The whole country is facing major challenges – and the support of our fans, partners and stakeholders is needed now more than ever before.”

Leeds’ trip to Catalans was postponed after the Rhinos refused to travel following one of their players showing symptoms of coronavirus, although he was later cleared.

On Sunday, Toronto revealed that four of their players were self-isolating for the same reason.

Earlier, St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus expressed the severity of the situation, calling for the RFL to get financial support from the government to protect the future of not only clubs, but the sport as a whole.