RUGBY league is to get access to an additional £4.7million of government loan support than previously announced.

The sport's UK governing body, the Rugby Football League, received £16million in government loans due to the coronavirus pandemic last May.

It was then announced in November that a further £12million had been made available as part of the sports winter survival package. This figure has now been revised with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirming the top-up loan sum to be £16.7million.

In addition to that, a grant of £1.45million has also been made for community clubs, including the women's game, plus £300,000 of grassroots financial support through the Sport England Tackling Inequalities Fund.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: "The Government have been fantastically supportive towards this sport. We have accessed support at many different levels for all the tiers of rugby league."

Top-level rugby league returned last weekend with the start of the new Betfred Super League season.

The competition has a new man at the helm with Huddersfield owner Ken Davy having taken over as chairman on a temporary basis following the recent departure of Robert Elstone.

After the problems of last year's pandemic-hit campaign, Rimmer believes the appointment is a good one for the sport and should ensure synergy with the RFL.

Rimmer, who previously worked with Davy at Huddersfield, said: "The two organisations have to work very closely. I know Ken very well, he is a man of great integrity.

"He's ideal to stand in and steady the ship. I have no doubt we will work with Super League and come up with a positive solution going forward.

"There is plenty of room for optimism and there are some good people around the table. All they want is for the sport to grow and that's what we all want."

Rimmer is confident 2021, which culminates with three World Cup tournaments, will be a positive one for the sport.

"I was born optimistic," said Rimmer, speaking on the day outdoor grassroots sport was able to resume under the next stage of the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England.

"We have just had a great weekend of rugby league action with some sensational athleticism. We have got the community game with the ability to start up and the women's game starting up on April 18.

"I know we have to be cautious, of course, but these are proper green shoots.

"We are on a bit of a roll and, as a bookend, we have got the World Cup - the first time ever a tournament will have run men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments next to each other.

"The World Cup is always a fantastic celebration of sport and should be part of the nation's recovery. It will be a big year and a big end of year."