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Where the RFL stands in relation to the resumption of sport

The RFL has issued the following update re medical recommendations and Government guidelines on the resumption of sport.

The Five Stages

The Government has outlined a five-stage process for the resumption of sport. The first of those is training in small groups; the second is full-contact group training; the third is staging matches behind closed doors domestically; the fourth is behind closed doors with a cross-border element; and the fifth stage is getting back to sport as we have always known it, with crowds in the stadium.

The RFL has already issued guidance to the Community Game on how this process will apply – relating specifically to stage one, the ability to resume training in small groups. The situation for professional sport is different, as it involves players returning to work (stages 1 and 2), and the possibility of playing matches behind closed doors (stage 3); of cross-border competition (stage 4); and the focus of playing in front of crowds (stage 5).

Guidance has so far been received from the Government on stages one to three – the return to training, and playing domestic fixtures behind closed doors, taking into account the different circumstances and risk factors in individual sports. For example, rugby of either code would have a very different assessment to tennis.

Clinical Advisory Group – Stages 1 and 2

Everything the RFL is doing is medically and risk led. The Clinical Advisory Group (CAG) are medical experts who work in Rugby League, and meet regularly to consider issues and make recommendations to the RFL Board. The CAG is currently chaired by Simon Perritt, the St Helens club doctor, and includes representatives from different levels of the game. These include Dr Chris Brookes, the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer and Wigan Warriors medical director; and Dr Gemma Phillips, the Hull KR doctor who has been the Great Britain and England team doctor.

At a meeting last week, they considered a draft policy relating to Coronavirus and how the first two of the Government’s five stages apply to Rugby League, and a position statement was circulated around the game. Key issues include sanitised environments, cleaning venues, social distancing where it’s required, appropriate testing for players and monitoring any symptoms and protocol if we do have any positive results.

It’s important we consult with our stakeholders – such as clubs and players – to make sure we have buy-in on how it works. Our expectation is we’ll circulate final drafts early this week and subject to any feedback, they will go to the RFL Board for approval. It will then be up to clubs to decide when they want to return to train and having all the systems in place to make sure they can do so.

Behind Closed Doors – Stage 3 – and beyond

Last Saturday, DCMS issued the guidance for stage three: domestic matches. We’ve been working with them and lots of other sports on that – it builds on stages one and two.

Working Groups have already been set up for Championship and League 1 Clubs to investigate the costs, logistical issues and potential revenue streams from playing matches behind closed doors.

A Restart Group specific to Super League has also been formed, with initial discussions last week ahead of a first meeting in the coming days. It will combine RFL and Super League Europe executives covering operations, legal, marketing and media, in addition to representation from broadcasters and those venues that will be staging BCD matches.

As with the other stages, key factors will be protecting the welfare of everyone involved, and implementing the recommendations of the CAG: making sure you have social distancing where you can; and where you can’t, you have appropriate risk planning.

We anticipate that the Restart Group will also consider stages four – cross-border matches – and five, getting crowds back in our stadia. The same applies to the Championship and League 1 Working Groups.

We’re putting plans in place as to how social distancing could work at grounds, and there will be a meeting with all the Ground Safety Officers this week. The absolute priority at the moment is public health so we’re not expecting anything imminently – but we need to make sure we’re in the best place we can when the Government says this can happen.

Laws Committee

The RFL’s Laws Committee, which includes representatives from across the game – players, coaches, medics, match officials, media and administrators from Super League, Championship and League 1 – will meet this Wednesday to consider a range of issues relating to the restart of the season.

Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, said:

“The Laws Committee agenda includes further discussion of the points of difference between law interpretations of the RFL’s professional competitions, and those now applying in the NRL.

“This will be a continuation of discussions from the last Laws Committee meeting in January, and will include the latest NRL changes – with Steve Ganson, the RFL’s Head of Match Officials, updating having remained in regular contact with NRL officials throughout their lockdown period over changes regarding the policing of ruck offences, and the return to a single referee.

“The Laws Committee will also discuss the implications of the suspension of the season and the medical situation which caused it, as well as the fall-out for the rest of 2020.”

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Club Cash

SINCE Covid-19 caused us to temporarily abandon door-to-door CLUB CASH lottery collections last Spring there’s never been a better time to come on board and help Roughyeds to get through these hugely challenging times.

Why? The £500-a-week rollover jackpot is back — not only that there are now TWO £50 prizes and TWO £25 prizes in addition to the first prize of £1,000, a second prize of £100 and ten consolation prizes of £10.

But the return of the jackpot is the big lottery news. It’s back this week and it’s been won first time out, so next week’s jackpot is again £500 but if nobody touches lucky it will go up to £1,000 the following week and increase by £500 a week, if not won, to a maximum of £10,000.

We have seriously missed the regular income from collections on the doorstep, but we cannot thank too much those supporters who have got behind the club in these unprecedented times of hardship by keeping their Club Cash memberships going or, indeed, by joining for the first time, knowing that for £1 a week they can help the club to combat Covid and prepare with confidence for the challenges of Betfred Championship rugby in 2021.

You can send a cheque to cover a set number of weeks; take out a bank standing order — our preferred option; complete a bank transfer; or pay for several weeks up front by credit or debit card.

You can download a standing order form by clicking on the link at the end of this news release and following the instructions or you can contact our Club Cash administrator John McAndrew (tel: 07980 129541; email: mcandrewj@aol.com) or speak to the club direct on 07904 898177 or email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The easiest way, though, is to download a standing order form below. The latest prize updates are shown on the form as follows (all for £1): £1,000, £100, £50 (2), £25 (2), a number of £10 consolation prizes and the £500-a-week rollover jackpot.

Best of luck!

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