- Wigan planning for a return to Super League action on the weekend of 8th/9th August
- Six teams to resume their season on Sunday 2nd August to complete games in hand
- Returning at neutral venues and a shortened 22-game season among other restart alterations
Wigan Warriors’ long-awaited return to Super League action is set to take place on the weekend of 8th/9th August, following months of meticulous planning aimed at providing a safe and equitable opportunity for our sport to resume competitive action.
After more than three months of waiting so far, Warriors fans’ patience is set to be rewarded in just over a month’s time when Super League returns to action via a shortened season – initially behind closed doors at neutral venues, in keeping with the current stringent demands of both the Government and the game’s clinical advisory group.
The first weekend of Super League’s return will take place without the Warriors, with six teams set to meet at a single venue on Sunday 2nd August to catch up on games already missed in earlier rounds due to weather and Covid-19 related issues.
A week later, all 12 teams will be in action to fully resume the 2020 season as a reduced 22-game calendar, with the six loop fixtures and Magic Weekend removed from the schedule, as each team plays one another twice in total over the course of the season.
This will be followed by a revised Play-Off structure featuring the top four teams in the regular season, with Semi-Finals and a Grand Final to be completed by late November or early December.
The re-structured calendar means that the season will conclude two months later than initially planned and has a knock-on effect for the 2021 campaign, which is expected to kick-off slightly later than the original aim of early February, but will conclude in time to ensure that England can stage a successful Rugby League World Cup in the Autumn.
Though details of Wigan’s revised fixture list are yet to be confirmed by Super League, Wigan Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski is excited to be able to plan for meaningful Super League matches in the near future. He explained: “It has taken many months, countless virtual meetings and some highly detailed planning, but this is by far the most significant day of the process so far, being able to confirm the weekend when we’ll next get to see our team in action.
“There is certainly an element of regret that the season will have to resume without our loyal supporters present in the stadium and at neutral venues rather than our usual home, but we hope that our game’s continued dialogue with the Government will allow Super League clubs to return to their usual stadia and welcome some supporters as soon as possible at the re-start. Some very constructive dialogue has already taken place to try and determine how that will be made possible.
“We have already communicated with supporters that we expected to lose some home fixtures this season, and the cancellation of the loop fixtures confirms that we will play at least three fewer games at the DW Stadium than originally intended this season.
“At this stage, we don’t yet know how many more are to be moved to neutral venues, so we kindly ask our already fantastically patient Season Ticket Holders to bear with us a little while longer until we know the outcome of all the fixture list revisions, and we will then be in touch with them to discuss all of the options relating to the money they have already committed to us.
“We had no idea what the future had in store when we had to put a sudden halt to all of our activities in March, but this long wait has made everyone at Wigan Warriors all the more determined to extend our time at the top of the table.”
Following the news that the competition will resume on Sunday 2nd August with a proposed triple header of Hull KR v Toronto Wolfpack, St Helens v Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos, Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said: “We are delighted to confirm Betfred Super League will be returning in just a few weeks’ time on Sunday August 2, live on Sky Sports.
“We are in the final stages of confirming where the games will be played, and we continue to work closely with Sky Sports to deliver the best possible broadcast schedule for our fans. Further details of this will be confirmed over the coming weeks.
“Above all we know that fans want to get back into grounds to support their teams. We will continue to follow government advice and work alongside the RFL, clinical advisors and ground safety personnel to ensure that when that time comes, Super League is ready to welcome back its fans at the first opportunity.
“Whilst the recent government announcements underline increasing optimism, the pandemic remains unpredictable. Our final fixture schedule needs to respond to opportunities that will unfold over the coming weeks and accordingly, full details of fixtures, venues and season structure will be confirmed as they become known.
“I would like to express my gratitude for the understanding and patience shown by Sky Sports, Betfred, and our other valued commercial partners, as we have navigated through this difficult time.
“Finally, I would like to thank the fans and players for their patience, positivity and desire to see Super League back up and running post-Covid-19.”
Details of how all the remaining Super League fixtures are to be televised will be communicated with supporters as soon as possible, with Season Ticket Holders urged to log on to their ticketing account at https://wigan-warriors.talent-sport.co.uk/PagesPublic/Login/Login.aspx and check that their correct contact details – particularly their email address – are registered on our system, in order to receive first and fast updates on how to continue following the action.
A decision on the resumption of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is subject to separate discussions and will be communicated as soon as the outcome of those meetings is known.
Supporters who currently hold tickets for fixtures that were postponed when the league was paused in March are advised to keep hold of their tickets until further details regarding the revised calendar are confirmed.