RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer has admitted that the current suspension of Rugby League competition is likely to run “considerably longer” than first hoped.

The governing body had initially announced a provisional return date of 3 April.

But in an update issued today, Rimmer concedes that the sport will most likely have a while longer to wait, as the UK continues to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Officials stopped short of naming a new anticipated date for Rugby League in the UK to resume, instead reassuring supporters that the situation is being constantly reviewed.

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Super League clubs held a board meeting via conference call, attended in part by senior officials of the RFL, for further discussion of how to respond to the current public health crisis.

After the meeting, Rimmer and Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone issued a joint statement: “With the country having taken such unprecedented measures, the primary focus and priority for all has to be the public health emergency – an approach that is equally applicable for our overseas clubs.

“Rugby League clubs are deeply embedded in their communities, and we are committed as a sport to following Government advice and doing all we can to promote the importance of physical and mental health – for our supporters, players and colleagues.

“In line with the approach announced by the UK Government last night, we will regularly review the situation regarding the possibility of resuming fixtures – and remain as flexible as possible, in consultation with other partners, and with the key considerations of financial sustainability and player welfare.”

Rimmer added: “Following today’s meeting of Betfred Super League clubs, we will also be updating other sections of the game with the latest thinking regarding the suspension of the season, as the sensible approach is clearly to continue working on various scenarios while acknowledging the suspension is going to be considerably longer than the three-week period we had initially confirmed.

“The key for the sport is to continue acting in a collegiate, united and positive way.”

Elstone added: “Super League and its Clubs are working round the clock to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead and to ensure the sport is in the best possible place for when life returns to normal.

“Our priorities are the health of our players and staff and the economic well-being of our clubs.

“We welcome the government’s proposals to help businesses, and in partnership with the RFL we are exploring all the options available to us.

“We are also keeping close to all our partners and, in particular, offering all our support to Sky Sports.

“Most of all, we are sticking together and looking out for the health of our families, friends and colleagues.

“Our sport has enviable values that stem from the behaviours and attitudes of all of us.

“These will be essential to emerging strong at some point in the near future.

“On behalf of all Super League clubs, we thank you for your loyalty and continued support.”