Hamilton thanks fans for continuing support

Date published: 03 July 2020

These are challenging times for sport at all levels and so Chris Hamilton, chairman of Oldham Rugby League Club, has posted a message to Roughyeds fans on the club's website.

In it, Mr Hamilton has spoken of the latest he knows regarding any possibility of a rugby league resumption, and thanked Oldham fans for their continuing support.

Mr Hamilton wrote: "Firstly, I hope you all are keeping safe during this difficult time.

"As most of you will know, Championship and League One clubs recently had another meeting with the RFL.

"One of the main topics was the potential for returning to training and then playing matches behind closed doors.

"It would be fair to say that the amount of work that has gone into this, both at Government level and with the RFL, has been significant. It is a much more complex situation than you might expect.

"The original document we received about return-to-train protocols was 22 pages long and I can assure you there were no wasted pages in there.

"The threat of Covid-19 remains very real and rugby league, due to the nature of both training and playing, is a high-risk sport.

"It is therefore vital that all necessary steps and guidelines are strictly followed to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

"This includes ensuring that all training and playing venues are bio secure.

"That will entail a lot of work and cost, obviously, with the testing of staff and players a key element of the whole process.

"In addition, the needs of players and staff - for whom this is a second job - are paramount, together with those of our medical staff, who work within the NHS.

"There is still no decision on whether we will return this season.

"There is so much to consider, including the welfare of many people such as fans, season ticket holders and sponsors, and whether clubs and venues are able to comply with all required standards.

"There isn't, at this present time, a date on the horizon as to when spectators might be able to return to watch games, even in reduced numbers.

"That's what everybody wants although it is very much dependent on how the virus continues to be controlled.

"As I have said before, the RFL has done an impressive job for the game throughout the whole of this pandemic and has kept clubs up to date as much as possible with information and guidance, all of which is following government advice, which is crucial.

"The RFL board will meet early next week.

"Following the clubs' last meeting everybody had to fill in a survey.

"The results from that survey will be considered at the board meeting although it remains to be seen if a decision will be made at that time.

"To finish, can I thank all of you for your ongoing support to the club at this difficult time for everybody.

"The support of people through the lottery, the sponsorship for the replaying of last year's Promotion Final and, more recently, the buying of leisurewear and then the NHS tee shirts have all played a key role in helping us to keep the club going.

"As soon as there is any more news to report we will let you have it.

"Stay safe."

Christopher Hamilton

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