RUGBY League is not on the list of sporting events to be used to pilot the safe return of spectators.

Instead snooker, football, rugby union, cricket, basketball, speedway and horse racing will all see events piloted with spectators.

Interestingly the Premiership Rugby Union fixture at the Stoop between Harlequins and Bath has been selected on 5 September.

Super League had applied to be a part of the pilot testing and have built a fixture list that is heavily stacked at the back end of the year with a view to getting the supporters back on the terraces.

But those fans will have to wait until October - and it will remain cut-outs only for the 13-man code until then.

This programme, which began with the finals of the World Snooker Championships at Sheffield earlier this month, will continue with the Brighton & Hove Albion pre-season friendly this weekend.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport have selected a range of different event styles across the country’s other major men’s and women’s spectator sports - but Super League has been left out.

The DCMS declared that the pilots will only take place if the latest scientific and medical advice allows for them to proceed in a Covid-secure way, and will be paused again if the advice suggests that conditions in the local area are not met.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: "I know fans and their teams can’t wait to be reunited in stadia across the country but it’s imperative we take a cautious and phased approach to get fans back in safely.

"I’m pleased that infection rates have levelled off enough to resume the pilot programme and we will continue to work intensively with sports, medical and health and safety experts towards welcoming more fans back as fast as we can.

"Some events previously agreed as pilots went ahead behind closed doors earlier this month after a rise in infection rates led to the government pausing its roadmap for recovery on 31 July."

The pilots resumed on August 15 and guidance, produced with the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA), sets out the strict measures that test events must follow to limit the spread of Covid-19.

These include:

Upholding social distancing in queues;

Minimising the risk of any pinch points or crowding;

Carefully controlling bookings so that social distancing is observed in seating arrangements;

Minimising the numbers of tickets sold to a pre-defined safe capacity, in accordance with regulator guidance;

Recording people’s data to assist NHS Test and Trace.

The next phase of test events are expected to include:


29 August, Brighton: Brighton & Hove Albion v TBC (men’s pre-season friendly)

30 August, Lewes: Lewes FC v London Bees (women’s pre-season friendly)

12 September, Dagenham: West Ham v Arsenal (women’s Super League fixture)

27 September, Wembley: Non-League Finals day (FA Vase and FA Trophy), teams TBC

Rugby Union

5 September, Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins v Bath (Premiership fixture)

Horse Racing

9 September, Doncaster: St Leger

21 September, Warwick: Warwick

24 September, Cambridgeshire: Newmarket


Late August/Early September, venues TBC: Bob Willis Trophy Games (4 Day) / T20 Blast Group Fixtures


18 September, Eagles Community Arena, Newcastle: Pre-season BBL exhibition match


26 September, Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich: British final

The pilots will be carefully monitored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Sports Ground Safety Authority to inform future decisions on further relaxations of the rules.

Capacity limits and ticketing processes will vary based on individual venues and events with further pilots to be announced in due course.