The RFL has issued a statement in response to the publication of the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery strategy.
The statement is as follows:
The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery strategy, which has been published today 11 May, will have a number of implications for the sport – with further guidance to follow for both professional and grassroots sport.
We have summarised the most significant as follows – and will be discussing these and other implications further with Betfred Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs, and the community game, in the coming days and information will be issued to all clubs, coaches and volunteers.
1 – Step One of the Government road map to lift restrictions includes guidance on exercise/sport – to start on Wednesday (May 13):
- “People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish.”
- People are permitted to exercise with one person from outside their own household, and “this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household”.
- Training sessions at community and junior clubs are not permitted.
- Activity that involves opening clubhouses, changing rooms etc is not permitted.
- The emphasis is on exercising outdoors.
2 – Step Two of the Government road map, to begin no earlier than Monday 1 June, includes “Permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.
- The RFL has been working in conjunction with DCMS, UK Sport and other sports to agree appropriate protocols relating to the return to training and in due course behind closed doors matches.
- Guidance on the return to training for elite sportsmen and women – individually or in small groups in the first instance – is being finalised at a national level and will then be shared across the sport.
- Work on behind closed doors sport will continue, and each sport will then have to consider how the general national protocols are applied to its sport and effectively rolled out.
- The RFL will continue to work in conjunction with Super League, Clubs and with player representatives on what these are for Rugby League. These will relate to hygiene, social distancing and testing – with the focus being on appropriately safeguarding all individuals involved.
- Accordingly, it is not yet appropriate to specify a date when Rugby League matches will recommence.
3 – The possibility of reopening sports stadia to crowds is also referred to in the recovery strategy – this “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections”.