Women’s Super League season likely to be shortened for August or September start

The RFL has provided possible scenarios for how the Women’s Super League will get back underway this year – including a shortened season starting in August or September.

All levels of rugby league in the UK has been suspended since March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Initial contingency planning based on a season suspension of between 12 and 16 weeks had been shared with WSL teams in late March, when the season had been due to start.

However, that planning has now been updated to provide possible scenarios for shortened seasons starting in late August or September – depending on the public health situation and government advice.

The RFL’s scenarios would involve a mini pre-season of three or four weeks and a Grand Final no later than November, with a desire not to undermine the preparations of the England women’s squad ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2021.

The Women’s Challenge Cup, which had reached the second round before play was suspended, also remains in the RFL’s contingency planning – although the final is now unlikely to be played as part of a triple header with the men’s Challenge Cup semi-finals.

WSL general manager Thomas Brindle said: “The Betfred Women’s Super League combines an increasingly elite on and off-field approach with a community game framework, so the feasibility of beginning the 2020 season will depend first on the government’s social distancing guidelines and the ability of players to return to training, rather than the behind closed doors arrangements for broadcast sport.

“The current situation is obviously frustrating for everyone who has contributed to the development of the BWSL since it was launched in 2016, and to women’s and girls’ rugby league.

“But we have to recognise the priority of public health, while doing all we can to maintain that momentum – and we continue to work towards a rescheduled BWSL and also the Championship, League 1 and the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup.

“The selection of the England Women Performance Squad and a first Women’s Knights squad this week will also provide a focus for our elite players as they continue to look forward to next year’s World Cup.”

The Women’s Super League teams will meet again for a further update in June – and the RFL will hold equivalent discussions with representatives from the Women’s Championship and League 1.

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