Many in the rugby league believe that a six-week season will need to be radically changed or extended when the Super League receives the green light to restart.
Leeds President and CEO Gary Hetherington admits that with the grand finale in October, it may be 2021 before the end of this season.
“It is inevitable that we will have to extend the season; it can go as far as November, December or even beyond … who knows, “he said. “We have to do whatever is necessary to make it work and it can also have an impact on the 2021 season.”
Hetherington added, “I think there is a good chance that the cup final will be played on a different date. We would have to find a new date and, who knows, maybe a new place. “
He also warned that there could be no complaints about the well-being of players when the season begins again and that players are invited to play much more often than usual. “We have a rule that you can’t play earlier than five days after your last game, but it has to go through the window. We will have to play three times a week.
“I will be disappointed if I hear people whining and using player welfare as a problem when it is not. Player well-being is serious; it’s about stress, anxiety and mental health, but we’re talking about sports and rugby is a tough sport. “
Some Super League leaders have suggested relegation should be postponed due to the extraordinary circumstances in which the sport finds itself, but Hetherington, who confirmed that the majority of the 150 players and staff at Leeds have been put on leave, insists to avoid this.
“I see it as an essential part of our competition,” he said. “We saw last year how much drama promotion and relegation can add, and our competitions have to have as many dramas as possible. We certainly don’t want to do anything that draws some interest. However, if the season is disrupted, it becomes a problem and we should be aware of it. “
Hetherington also said that the remaining rounds of the Challenge Cup – there are 16 teams left – could be an opportunity for the rugby league to provide some live sport to the country in the coming weeks.
“We are talking hypothetically because there is so much uncertainty, but we have eight knockout games to play and they could all be behind closed doors for a weekend,” he said.
“It could provide an opportunity for the game. If we were to be a sport with live action when no one else is, well, this is an opportunity for the rugby league to showcase itself. “