Academy suspended due to Covid restrictions, amateur game on ice

Wigan's academy and scholarship programmes have been suspended - and plans for amateur rugby league to return have been put on ice - following the new national lockdown.
Wigan's Robin Park HQWigan's Robin Park HQ
Wigan's Robin Park HQ

Although professional clubs can continue to operate, the tighter restrictions has had an impact on rugby league and other sports.

Community rugby league, which had been due to resume at Youth and Open Age level in January, is now required to be suspended under Government rules.

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The RFL says that while recognising that the priority remains the public health emergency, it will continue to stress to Government, working with other sports, the importance of team sports in terms of the nation’s mental and physical fitness, and the importance of community clubs in terms of social cohesion.

The game's governing body will work towards a return of training, and then competitions, as soon as possible this spring.

The RFL has advised clubs in Betfred Championship and League 1 to pause their pre-season training programmes for the next two weeks, in recognition of the national crisis, and with more than seven weeks until the scheduled start of the 2021 season.

This will allow detailed discussions with clubs, before the publication of fixtures – which will be delayed, as will the draw for the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup, until a further announcement later this month.

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Betfred Women’s Super League clubs will also be advised to pause their pre-season training programmes – although it is hoped the England Women and Wheelchair squads will continue with their training camps in January and February as previously scheduled.

The RFL will continue to work closely with Betfred Super League clubs to ensure the protocols around their pre-season training programmes evolve to reflect the current landscape and understanding of the disease.