Featherstone chairman expresses extreme concern about future of Championship and League 1

Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell has admitted he is “extremely concerned” about the future of the 2020 Championship and League 1 competitions.

Throughout rugby league’s Covid-19 suspension, there have been growing fears about the financial implications the pandemic will have on clubs, particularly those who operate on a part-time basis in the lower professional leagues.

Working groups were recently set up by the RFL to investigate various costing and logistical issues regarding player testing and behind closed door games, with Campbell himself involved in the financial group.

He has, however, become increasingly frustrated at the absence of a concrete decision surrounding a restart date.

“I’m extremely concerned about the future of the 2020 RFL Championship and League 1 campaigns,” he said in a statement on Rovers’ official club website. “As the landscape changes constantly throughout this pandemic, we have to give ourselves the best chance possible in resuming the season.

“I have proposed what I believe to be a suitable start date, one which would give us the best possible chance of playing in front of crowds and limit the level of testing for players, staff and officials. Whilst others have explored the merits and disadvantages of playing behind closed doors.

“Unfortunately, after almost eight weeks of discussions we still haven’t agreed on what is deemed to be a ‘meaningful season’, this is something that can only come from the RFL. I don’t understand how we haven’t agreed on this yet, we need to work together to resolve this matter.

Rovers chairman Campbell is becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of a definite restart date. Credit: Featherstone Rovers

“I can only comment on the financial costs of testing and playing behind closed doors, which to date, I still don’t know exactly how much this would amount to, despite numerous conference calls with League and Club officials.

“It appears that to some this issue is a mountain too steep to conquer, despite us not knowing how far we have to climb. We aren’t talking about tackling the issue today or tomorrow, we’re talking about months down the line.

“It is important that the RFL and Clubs work together to try and explore all potential solutions and not settle for a negative result until all avenues have been explored fully. If we have to be patient we will, but we don’t have to put the white flag up just yet.

“We will continue to work hard and explore as many avenues as possible to enable a positive outcome in these unprecedented times.

“As the government landscape changes from week to week, we will continue to look for a structure for our season that suits as many Clubs as possible, as we need all the clubs to have an appetite for returning.

“If it comes down to the decision that the season cannot resume until 2021, we will accept that, but only if it comes down to medical/safety reasons. We won’t give up on this season and won’t allow Super League to determine or influence our competition and hope that the RFL will work in everyone’s best interests.”

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