Super League supporters shutout by new Covid-19 restrictions

SUPER LEAGUE’s pilot events have been postponed after the Government announced that the return of fans would be put on hold due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 7:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 7:58 am
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 15/03/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Castleford Tigers v St Helens - Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford, England - A General View

Just last week, the Government had granted permission for four Super League fixtures on Wednesday, September 30 to be staged as pilot events which would have saw supporters return to rugby league grounds for the first time since March.

It was hoped that more fans would be able to filter back into grounds in October but the UK’s chief medical officers recommended on Monday that the Covid-19 alert level should be moved from three to four.

Castleford Tigers were set to host one pilot event with a fixture against Hull FC while Wakefield Trinity had not been selected to play in a fixture with supporters present.

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Picture by Oskar Vierod/SWpix.com - 13/09/2019 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Wakefield Trinity v London Broncos - The Mobile Rocket Stadium, Wakefield, England - General view during game

Cabinet Office Minister Gove made the announcement earlier this week and urged that caution was needed with Covid-19 cases on the rise throughout the United Kingdom.

He said on Tuesday: “It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning.

“It wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans. We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme.

“But what we want to do is make sure that as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

“It is the case that we need to be cautious at the moment. A mass reopening would not be appropriate at the moment. We do need to proceed with caution.”

Gove added: “The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but it is in the nature of major sporting events that there is a lot of mingling.”

It means there has been some late adjustments to Super League’s round 14 fixtures, which had been included in the government’s programme of pilot events.

The AJ Bell Stadium will host matches on Tuesday 29 September and the games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. Fixtures on Wednesday 30 September will see Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants play at their own grounds.

Castleford Tigers will also go back to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle – but their match against Hull FC has moved from Wednesday 30 September to Thursday 1 October. The game will be live on Sky Sports at 7.45pm.