Rugby league one of five British sports discussing a return behind closed doors?



RUGBY League is understood to be one of five sports talking to the British government about returning behind closed doors.

The professional clubs on Thursday received an update from the Rugby Football League about how the sport is dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. Some sources indicate the sport is involved in a dialogue with the UK government about the road back with a push from some quarters to play games without spectators.

No official statement was made after the update to clubs.

While Australia’s National Rugby League are happy to play behind close doors and have already announced a May 28 restart, in the UK the television rights fees are not as large and clubs rely heavily on spectators to pay the bills.

However, it’s understood that – just as was the case in World War II – there are powerful lobbies within the UK government that want sport to resume for the sake of public morale.

And while they didn’t have an infectious disease to deal with in the 1940s, nor did they have the miracle of television and pay-per-view live streaming .

The other sports have not been identified, they are most likely to be soccer, rugby union, cricket and racing.

Even Championship and League 1 clubs could utilise paid streams to return before fans are allowed back into grounds.

Those clubs are being counselled that while they may not fancy playing in front of no spectators, there are ways to make it work that should be considered.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported pay cuts would be put to players at Super League clubs by the end of the week and that players who resist would be blackballed by all clubs. At some Super League teams, cuts will be on a sliding scale with the highest paid stars asked to forgo the biggest percentage of the pay packets.

Sky Sports have paid up to the end of June but are considered unlikely to continue footing the bill for Super League without product to show after that.



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