Late yesterday evening arrived the news that most Swinton Lions fans expected to hear but dreaded actually hearing; during a meeting on Monday, it was agreed by the RFL board to cancel the rest of The Betfred Championship and League 1 2020 season.
It was also agreed that there would be no promotion or relegation from either league since both were only a few games in before they were suspended in March.
In their statement, the RFL board said: “The Betfred Championship and League 1 seasons will not resume in 2020- this follows the Government announcement last week identifying October as the earliest opportunity for the return of crowds to sport, and the finding of a survey of Betfred Championship and League 1 clubs that a majority in each competition would not support playing matches Behind Closed Doors.
“Again, the issue of protecting the solvency of clubs informed this decision.”
They also announced that no team will be relegated from the Super League this season, which could prove to be positive news for Salford Red Devils as their season got off to a start that sees them just one place above bottom of the league Hull KR.
This announcement from a Swinton Lions perspective is less positive, the club is in a good place at the moment and no doubt they would have liked to have finished off where they started this season, which was an encouraging start.
However, the RFL did offer something that would allow Swinton and other Championship and League 1 clubs to carry on competing.
They stated: “The Betfred Championship and League 1 clubs will be invited to play in a competition this autumn, with a theme of celebrating the sport’s 125th anniversary – and with a prize pot of £250,000, thanks in part to financial support from the Betfred Super League clubs.
“Further details of this competition will follow this week – it will be voluntary, and there will be a detailed application process requiring clubs to prove their ability to meet the necessary protocols and medical standards.
“There will be no automatic promotion to the Betfred Super League from this competition.”
This may just be a small consolation for Stuart Littler’s team but if they do decide to participate in this anniversary tournament, then it will be an opportunity for the Lions to regain full fitness ahead of the new 2021 season.