Super League looks to August restart with fans back in October

A statue of Brian Bevan, an Australian-born player, at the home ground of rugby league side Warrington Wolves

Rugby league’s Super League hopes to resume in August, with officials looking to welcome fans back to games as soon as October.

The Super League, 10 of whose 12 clubs are based in England, was suspended in March as part of the wider coronavirus shutdown.

A proposed return date of August 16 is regarded as necessary to minimise any rebate to broadcast rights-holder Sky Sports.

But rugby league is more reliant on fans than English football, which is planning on staging behind-closed-doors matches for the foreseeable future.

Britain’s Press Association reported Thursday that October 1 is regarded as the earliest possible start date for the return of fans to matches, although this will be dependent on UK government health guidance.

“We are now at a stage where we have three advanced models, based around a season restart date of mid-August,” wrote Super League chief executive Robert Elstone in an open letter on Thursday.

Elstone, citing the restart of top-flight football in Germany, added: “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.”

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