Government approve trial events

Rugby League fans will return to the Betfred Super League in England on Wednesday September 30 after the Government granted permission for four fixtures to be staged as pilot events.

Attendances of 1,000 will be permitted at the games, which include the traditional derby fixture between Wigan Warriors and St Helens at the DW Stadium – their first meeting of the 2020 season, which will also be broadcast live by Sky Sports.

The other three fixtures granted pilot event status are: Castleford Tigers versus Hull FC; Huddersfield Giants versus Hull KR; and Leeds Rhinos versus Catalans Dragons.

Sports pilots are not able to take place in areas with high coronavirus incidence rates. For this reason the Salford Red Devils v Warrington Wolves fixture, also scheduled for September 30, has not joined the approved list for spectators in the pilot programme.

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Ralph Rimmer, RFL CEO, said: “The return of crowds is vital to sports including Rugby League. Pilot events are steps in the right direction, demonstrating that socially distanced crowds can be managed, and we are delighted that Rugby League will add to this learning across the sports sector.  

“We know the presence of fans in the ground for these four Betfred Super League fixtures will be a major boost to all involved – especially the players, who thrive on the atmosphere provided by Rugby League’s passionate supporters.”

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Robert Elstone, Executive Chairman, Super League said: “It is crucial that crowds are allowed back into Super League venues as soon as it is safe, so we welcome the Government’s decision to include our matches on September 30 in the programme of pilot events.

“Matchday revenue is essential to the business models of our clubs and the introduction of up to 1,000 spectators will help us to form a better understanding of how and when we can introduce larger crowds. Pilot events have worked well in other sports and Super League venues are well-equipped to host their own.”

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