Super League’s restart in doubt after positive Covid-19 tests

The restart of rugby league’s Super League competition has been plunged into another crisis just days after most teams played their first match in months.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has confirmed that five Hull FC players who played against Salford City Reds on Sunday and two members of its coaching staff have now tested positive for Covid-19. Salford’s routine weekly test results have not yet been received.

The infected players are required to quarantine for 10 days in line with national guidance. The RFL is now analysing Sunday’s match to determine how many players from each team will also be required to self-isolate under the test and trace procedures that have been agreed with Public Health England.

The RFL said: “Announcements on the impact on forthcoming Betfred Super League and Coral Challenge Cup fixtures over the next two weekends will be made as soon as possible.”

It is a blow for the competition, which had already been hit by the withdrawal of Canadian club Toronto Wolfpack. But matches had resumed this month, with two games played last week before a full round of matches were all held at Leeds’ Headingley stadium over two days at the weekend.

The sport had cancelled the 2020 season for lower leagues but had pushed ahead with a rescheduled Super League season.

It had also secured a £16m bailout fund from the Government, although no clubs have yet confirmed they have successfully applied for a loan.