Firstly, I hope you all are keeping safe during this difficult time.
As most of you will know, all Championship and League One clubs recently had another meeting with the RFL.
One of the main topics was to discuss 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 as this is a much more complex situation than you might expect.
The original document we received around 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 the necessary steps and guidelines are strictly followed to ensure the safety of all the people 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 – together with our medical staff who work within the NHS, are paramount.
There is still no decision as to whether or not we will return this season as there is so much to consider as well as the welfare of so many people, not least the fans, season ticket holders and sponsors, plus the clubs’ and venues’ abilities to be 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. This is the position everybody wants to get to 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 and 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 is 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.
Oldham Rugby League Club