RFL aims for spectators next month

The Rugby Football League has again made the case to Government to be one of the leading pilot events for spectators returning to sport next month.

Rugby League was keen to be among the first sports to be allowed to run test events with fans in place, before the Government put the breaks on those plans several weeks ago due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

But with confirmation last week that the plans have now been restarted, and fans can begin to return to sport in the coming weeks on a trial basis ahead of a hopeful permanent return by October 1, League Express understands the RFL has once again expressed a firm desire to lead the way.

It has eyed a round of Super League fixtures towards the end of September as a possible date to run trial events with spectators. However, there is concern that the events surrounding Hull FC last week will have done the bid no favours, and it is by no means a guarantee Rugby League gets a pilot event at all.

The fact that there are currently enhanced local restrictions in areas where Super League sides such as Wigan, Salford and Huddersfield play is also a hindrance.

But other factors, it is hoped, could swing the pendulum in the sport’s favour. Whereas many major sports venues such as Twickenham, Lord’s and several Premier League venues are accessed predominantly by public transport, barely any Super League grounds have that issue.

That means spectators are more likely to travel to games on their own or with their families, minimising the spread of the virus as opposed to hundreds of fans congregating on buses and trains.

League also has a strong demographic of female supporters who attend games compared to other frontline competitions across the country, which could be another factor that works in the sport’s favour.

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