10th April 2021, 08:55 |
“You will have seen that the RFL has joined other governing bodies in supporting Government’s work to see how ‘covid certification’ could help sports get to full capacities safely and quickly.
“Media reports are using ‘vaccine passports’ as a shorthand but what covid certification actually means is demonstrating we have either had a negative covid test in the recent period, or a test that shows we have antibodies, or that we’ve had the vaccine. So, it is open to all.
“We want fans to be able to come back safely and with confidence - and fans want to come back to Rugby League.
“Fans return in small numbers and with social distancing measures in place from 17 May.
"We want to see much bigger capacities allowed from 21 June.
“Covid certification could be an option to enable full venues from 21 June. That’s why the RFL has supported the work in this area alongside the other major spectator sports governing bodies.
“On behalf of the sport the RFL has been very clear in all its work with Government. Any system must be national, straightforward to use and it must not be discriminatory. We know there are a range of technology options - Government must be clear about how any such scheme would operate. And if they go down this route it should be for a time-limited period. It must not increase costs – either to fans, or to clubs who have already invested significant time, money and care in preparing for the return of their fans. All sports are clear this must not extend to grassroots sport.
“The Government’s Events Research Programme which includes the FA Cup Semi Final and Final will test a range of things including relaxing social distancing. We will build in the findings to the guidance so that clubs can act quickly on changes required and we can all enjoy a great summer of matches with as many fans as possible able to attend.
“And we are encouraged by the likelihood of full stadia at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 which starts on 23 October. We have just celebrated 200 days to go until the opening match of the men’s tournament between England and Samoa at St James’ Park, Newcastle. The tournament is on track to be a pivotal moment for sport in this country and has the potential to be the first international tournaments – Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair RL – with full stadia and venues.
"This will be a fantastic celebration for our game, its fans – both those from the Rugby League family and those who are new to the sport – as well as many important and loyal stakeholders, including our commercial and broadcast partners who have supported us so consistently.
“We want to get to full capacities safely and quickly.
“The RFL will continue, on behalf of the whole sport, to defend its values and objectives, reminding policy makers of the significant two-season impact that having no crowds continues to have on the sport’s finances and stress the outstanding work of our clubs in preparing for the safe return of fans.”
Thank you. Take care.
Ralph Rimmer, CEO, The RFL
Jon Dutton, CEO, RLWC2021