Clubs to take medical guidance on return to play

Senior medical officials from across Rugby League take part in a meeting on Monday to gain a greater understanding of the return to play procedures the sport will need to adhere to in order to get back on the field.

Wigan doctor Chris Brookes will chair the meeting alongside several other medical experts from within the sport in a meeting that will also include professionals from other sports.

The meeting will lay out the measures clubs will have to live by once players and staff are back in training during ‘Phase 3’ of the government’s recovery strategy.

That will include the frequency of testing, testing procedures and biosecurity measures for players and staff once they return to training.

Although the procedures will be thorough, there is a sense of optimism that as the country’s rules continue to relax, the logistics and costs behind testing will not be as ominous as it first appeared a month ago.

That said, clubs are still expecting the costs to be significant, though it’s accepted that it is a guessing game at present.

The meeting is seen as significant and the next stepping stone for Super League’s return, which is pencilled in for August. Information will be reported back to clubs and further planning will be put in place ahead of return to training.

Despite the government revealing that professional sport could return from June 1st, there is no plan for Super League to return earlier than August.

There had been hope the news could fast-track the sport’s return, but sources have told League Express that isn’t the case.

However, the RFL is hoping this week to get more clarity on how the news may affect Catalans and the challenges they face upon the competition’s restart.

Currently, the Dragons would have to quarantine for 14 days upon travelling to and returning from the UK. The governing body is set to ask whether the new restrictions may change that.

Another topic set to be discussed is the ‘flexi furlough’, which will allow employers to bring back staff part-time from July 1st.

In theory, it means players could return to training on a part-time basis from then, though the RFL and clubs hope to get more clarity on that this week.