Super League proposal to return in August
LEEDS, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Toronto Wolfpack's Sonny Bill Williams competes with Leeds Rhinos' Luke Gale during the Betfred Super League match between Leeds Rhinos and Toronto Wolfpack at Emerald Headingley Stadium on March 5, 2020 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Super League has plans to return at the start of August, with three proposals being put forward to finish the current 2020 season.

A group of nominated clubs continues to examine a number of scenarios for the resumption of the season, with supporters still very much at the forefront of those discussions.

Teams who had games postponed before the pandemic will play them in the first two weekends of August with every club returning 15/16 August.

The Grand Final dates for the different schedules might be: 28 November, 12 December and/or 16 January.

Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone was quoted as saying, “Potential season start dates are all being considered as part of the extensive work going into fixtures scheduling and, whilst health remains paramount, we are committed to exploring all opportunities to deliver live rugby league in front of crowds.”

Super League considering several Proposals

  • The first proposal includes a 22-round season with a Grand Final on 28 November and midweek games in rounds 14, 16, 18, and 21. The Challenge Cup would restart with the sixth round on 23 August and the final scheduled for 25 October.
  • A second model is a 24-round campaign with midweek matches in rounds 15, 17, 22, and 23 culminating in a 12 December Grand Final. Yet again, the Challenge Cup sixth round would be played 23 August with the final on 8 November.
  • The final proposal sees a longer 28-game season ending in a 16 January Grand Final including midweek games in rounds 15, 18, 22, 23. As with the other models, 23 August will see the continuation of the Challenge Cup but the final would be held 28 November.

New fixture lists will be drawn up for each model and matches would be played behind closed doors until at least 1 October; where it is hoped crowds can return depending on Government advice.

A general view of the action at the Emerald Headingley Stadium during the Betfred Super League match between Leeds Rhinos and Toronto Wolfpack at Emerald Headingley Stadium on March 5, 2020 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Results and standings from before the shutdown will stand, and in a still to be confirmed scenario, is that the number of teams in the playoffs will be reduced to four (going straight to semifinals).

Questions to be answered

There will still be questions to be answered such as; Catalans Dragons participation in the competition due to the travel restrictions in England and France. The latter banning all sport until September, so the European side may need to travel across to England, to quarantine for 14 days prior to being permitted to play in England.

Trans-Atlantic travel would need to be decided on. Canada has closed it’s borders with the United States so the Toronto Wolfpacks participation must be considered on the same terms as Catalan Dragons.

The Challenge Cup could also have problems ‘if’ it is decided to prematurely end the Betfred Championship and League 1 seasons were to be concluded. That is because Featherstone Rovers, Newcastle Thunder, Sheffield Eagles, and the York City Knights remain in the Challenge Cup competition.

Clubs are expected to discuss these proposals on Thursday, May 28.

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