Super League WILL return 'behind closed doors'

Super League is set to return behind closed door once the sport gets the green-light to resume, says Wakefield boss Michael Carter.
Wigan are set to return behind closed doorsWigan are set to return behind closed doors
Wigan are set to return behind closed doors

Earlier this week, Hull FC owner Adam Pearson cast doubts on the prospect of games without fans, warning the sport couldn't afford it.

But with social-distancing measures expected to be in place for the foreseeable future, it is understood talks are taking place looking at resuming the campaign behind closed doors in the summer.

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And Trinity chairman Carter told the Forty20Live podcast: "Nobody has said it yet but when we do get back playing, it's going to be behind closed doors. There's no other way that we're going to get to put games on."

Football is aiming for a mid-June return from the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, rugby union in early July - though Super League has the extra complication of knowing Catalans can't host any matches until at least September because of French government rules.

One option is to stage all matches at one or two venues, similar to a scaled-down Magic Weekend - a move with may curry favour with Sky Sports at a time when the sport is looking to extend its broadcast partnership beyond the end of 2021.

"Let's go to Sky and say, 'What do you want from us?' And we will do our utmost best to deliver it to put on the screens," said Carter.

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"What can we do to over-deliver to make your product better? Shall we have a triple header at Headingley? Three games in the middle of August?"

Michael Carter runs Wakefield TrinityMichael Carter runs Wakefield Trinity
Michael Carter runs Wakefield Trinity

In a wide-ranging interview with the Forty20Live podcast - click on the embedded tweet - he backed calls to scrap relegation this season.

All clubs have made use of the government's job retention scheme - which pays 80 per cent of salaries up to £2,500 - to furlough staff, including players.

And though they are 'topping up' those amounts, many higher-earners are taking significant paycuts, with Wigan among the clubs slashing 50 per cent of wages after the £38,000 mark.

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Speaking about his own club's stance, Carter added: "I've said to the players and staff, I will completely open our books to anyone who wants to view them, I'm not looking to profiteer from this, I'm aiming to get us all through to the end of November and that is my only ambition at this time.

"If miraculously we end up with £100k extra, more income from some revenue stream, that will go back to the players. Completely. While we've asked them to take a substantial salary adjustment, if anything comes further down the line that changes that, they will benefit completely."

Sports lawyer Richard Cramer told last week the pay cuts were unlawful unless players agree to them.

"At times you've got to disconnect the legal position from the common sense position," added Carter.

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"If we get everyone through here to November and they've all enjoyed between 70 or 80 per cent (of their contract), they should be thanking their lucky stars because there are people out of work all over the place.

"There are a lot of people in worse situations than professional sports people."

He also backed calls to save costs centrally, following Hull KR boss Neil Hudgell's suggestion earlier this week that the "proffesional game cannot afford two executive bodies (Super League and the RFL)."

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