Championship, League One clubs target March return

Date published: 07 November 2020

Oldham RLFC, in line with the Rugby Football League (RFL), the Betfred Championship and Betfred League One, hope to be playing again in March, possibly behind closed doors, but with fans allowed back into grounds over the Easter weekend at the beginning of April.

In a statement following a virtual meeting of clubs, the RFL said the Easter weekend from April 2 to April 5 would provide the "perfect opportunity" to schedule derby matches which fans had missed so much in 2020.

Clubs agreed on the importance of working collectively to ensure they are ready to host fixtures in 2021, if necessary  behind closed doors, but crucially to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for spectators when crowds are permitted again.

Options around streaming matches for season-ticket holders on the RFL's Our League app and the introduction of games being available on a pay-to-view basis will also be pursued.

RFL chief Ralph Rimmer said: "Clubs are eager to get back on the field and this meeting was an opportunity for them to consider possible further schedules for 2021, drawn up by the RFL.

"Practical factors will almost certainly remain, but the Easter weekend, when we fervently hope and expect crowds to be permitted back at our grounds, provides something for us all to anticipate with relish."

Meanwhile, new club Ottawa Aces, who were due to join League One in 2021, have deferred their entry until 2022, with RFL approval, due to Covid-19 and anticipated problems associated with international travel next year.

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