Robert Elstone confirms mid-August proposals

Robert Elstone has said Super League is desperate to bring crowds back as soon as possible after confirming plans to return to the play in mid-August.

Plans for the competition’s restart were revealed on Thursday, with three different models all geared around an August return.

Super League to return on opening August weekend

While August is later than many had expected, it will give the sport a better likelihood of welcoming supporters later in the year, with Super League stating in a document that October 1st is a best case scenario.

In a statement, Elstone said: “We are now at a stage where we have three advanced models, based around a season restart date of mid-August, differentiated largely on when we expect the season to end. These plans will be refined over the short term as we learn lessons from the relaxation of social distancing, the return to work, the restart of other sports and the general trend of virus spread and control.

“Whilst it is as certain as it can be that our restart will take place behind closed doors, what is most important to you and us is when fans will be allowed back into our stadiums. Speculation on that date, and there is an absence of any well-informed ‘best-estimates’, has been factored into our fixture planning with a greater number of games scheduled towards the end of the projected season. In addition, work has already begun on crowd management in a Covid environment to ensure we’re as ready as we can be when the opportunity first arises.

“As has been evident from the welcome return of the Bundesliga, sport is almost unrecognisable without its fans. But it is better than no sport and it will, if it goes well, set a precedent for us and other sports to follow. We are also exploring ways in which we will make every game, beyond Sky’s selected fixtures, available to fans.

“Right now, our biggest challenge is getting our players back safely to training and, ultimately, back on the pitch. That presents its own challenges around Covid testing.”