2019 North East Men’s League champions Edinburgh Eagles have confirmed they will not be defending their title in 2021.
The Eagles, who beat Jarrow Vikings in the final at Whitley Bay, will instead focus on the Scottish league. This is mainly due to issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
England and Scotland have been operating under different rules, and the club believes the logistical challenges will prove too much.
The five-team Scottish National League will include Glasgow Rugby League, Fife Lions, Strathmore Silverbacks and Forth Valley Vikings.
A statement from the club says: “After discussions with all relevant parties, we have taken the decision not to play in the NERL league competition for the 2021 season.
“The ongoing uncertainties regarding Coronavirus/COVID played the biggest part in the decision, alongside the guidelines for both Scotland and England being misaligned.
“With the current guidance leaving us approximately 4 weeks behind England in returning to play and no guarantees regarding travel at this stage, all parties agreed that stepping back for this season is the sensible and responsible approach in terms of public health.
“We look forward to returning to domestic competitions in a 5-team league plus a cup/plate in a shortened season.”