St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus says the sport may have to rely on government support to survive through the coronavirus outbreak.
The season is likely to be suspended or played behind closed doors in the coming weeks, resulting in huge financial loss for all rugby league clubs.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, McManus said: “The Government has to look at a degree of support for our sport. There’s huge financial implications, the very existence of our sport is on the line.
“We’re different to soccer, probably different to rugby union, we’re at the beginning of our season, this is open-ended both in time and terms of quantum, no-one knows the full extent of it.
“We (St Helens) have got our own stadium, we’ve not got a penny of debt, we’re profitable, but we have a very high cost base, and if your income evaporates overnight – and that could well happen – certainly the match day income will.”
An announcement on the immediate future of the game is expected on Monday afternoon.