Elstone and Rimmer: Rugby League will “remain as flexible as possible”

Super League chairman Robert Elstone and RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer have said they will take a “flexible” approach to resuming the rugby league season while also conceding the current suspension will be extended beyond the initial three week period.

Earlier this month the RFL imposed the suspension on all rugby league activity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then several sporting events, including the Tokyo Olympics and football’s European Championships have been postponed, while the majority of other sports worldwide have also ceased activity.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, following a conference call involving senior RFL officials,  Elstone and Rimmer said: “With the country having taken such unprecedented measures, the primary focus and priority for all has to be the public health emergency – an approach that is equally applicable for our overseas clubs.

RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer has confirmed the suspension on rugby league activity will be extended. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

“Rugby League clubs are deeply embedded in their communities, and we are committed as a sport to following Government advice and doing all we can to promote the importance of physical and mental health – for our supporters, players and colleagues.

“In line with the approach announced by the UK Government last night, we will regularly review the situation regarding the possibility of resuming fixtures – and remain as flexible as possible, in consultation with other partners, and with the key considerations of financial sustainability and player welfare.”

Rimmer added: “Following today’s meeting of Betfred Super League clubs, we will also be updating other sections of the game with the latest thinking regarding the suspension of the season, as the sensible approach is clearly to continue working on various scenarios while acknowledging the suspension is going to be considerably longer than the three-week period we had initially confirmed.

“The key for the sport is to continue acting in a collegiate, united and positive way.”

Super League chairman Robert Elstone has thanked fans for their support. Credit: News Images

Elstone added: “Super League and its clubs are working round the clock to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead and to ensure the sport is in the best possible place for when life returns to normal. Our priorities are the health of our players and staff and the economic well-being of our clubs.

“We welcome the government’s proposals to help businesses, and in partnership with the RFL we are exploring all the options available to us. We are also keeping close to all our partners and, in particular, offering all our support to Sky Sports.

“Most of all, we are sticking together and looking out for the health of our families, friends and colleagues. Our sport has enviable values that stem from the behaviours and attitudes of all of us.

“These will be essential to emerging strong at some point in the near future. On behalf of all Super League clubs, we thank you for your loyalty and continued support.”

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