LEEDS RHINOS, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity are set to pioneer a new version of rugby league for people with learning disabilities and autism.
They are among 12 clubs set to take part in the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League, along with Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Newcastle Thunder, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Warriors and York City Knights.
The development will be run in partnership between Super League (Europe), the Rugby Football League (RFL) and national social care charity Community Integrated Care.
It will give people with learning disabilities the opportunity to play an adapted version of rugby league in a series of high-profile festivals and events.
The programme aims to promote the development of skills, confidence and positive experiences for people with learning disabilities and make a major statement about social inclusion.
Organisers say it is a world first as a professional sports league shares its brand with a learning disability sports programme.
Learning Disability Super League is set to launch at Betfred Super League’s Dacia Magic Weekend, at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, on May 25-26.
Rhinos forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan has signed up as an ambassador for the programme.
Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said: “Not only will this deliver amazing opportunities for all the players and experiences that will live in the memory for lifetimes, it will also endorse everything that Super League stands for.
“Our clubs sit at the heart of proud communities and bring people together every day of the year. The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League will widen that reach and amplify these special qualities.”
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive, added: “As a governing body we are extremely proud of our work in developing both physical disability and learning disability rugby league over the past 12 months.
“To have a partner of the calibre of Community Integrated Care come on board is really exciting and they will add real value as we look to develop this format.”