Ralph Rimmer has admitted it is ‘likely’ fans will be unable to attend any games this season after the government paused plans to allow supporters back in.
In a statement reacting to the news, Rimmer expressed his deep concerns for the sport, with the inability to generate ticket revenue an major blow to clubs.
“The impact on Rugby League and other sports is profound,” he said.
“Rugby League has sadly shelved a much-anticipated Ashes series this year, and major finals without crowds looks likely.
“The loan facility provided by Government has been welcomed by the sport. It was predicated on an initial 12 week lockdown. Additionally, every club has taken significant steps to reduce costs, and players and staff have taken pay reductions. The sport has reacted quickly and decisively in facing these challenges. Yet it remains likely that with losses at up £2m a week across the sport as a whole, and continued uncertainty, there will be job losses across the sport.
The Secretary of State is fully aware of the extremely serious economic situation facing sports including Rugby League from being prevented from generating any revenue through ticket sales for over six months now as we face the prospect of further months without this income; as well as managing the continued pressure on all commercial and other partnerships which support sport. We are extremely grateful for the continued forbearance of partners at this time.”
He continued: “Rugby League makes an outstanding difference in all these areas. Sports has so much to offer the country as we eventually come out of this crisis.
“But we cannot play these vital roles fully if sports are decimated. There is a very real impact on jobs and investment which harms community clubs and grassroots playing opportunities as well as professional sport.
“We continue to reiterate the sector’s absolute commitment to public safety and our shared expertise in managing a safe and controlled return of fans.”