'No club will be able to afford testing' - Dons supremo Carl Hall reveals obstacles in way of rugby league's return

Doncaster RLFC chief executive Carl Hall says there must be patience as rugby league plots a way back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Dons chief executive Carl HallDons chief executive Carl Hall
Dons chief executive Carl Hall

Hall, who was appointed vice president of the Rugby Football League last year, has admitted that the sport faces some major obstacles before it can resume.

Earlier this month Championship and League One clubs formed a working group with the RFL to consider playing games behind closed doors. Another group are considering alternative revenue streams in the absence of gate receipts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The government approved a £16m loan to help rugby league cope with the financial impact of Covid-19.

“We’ve got a big stadium so I think we could socially distance people in the stands but you still have to think about the cost of that,” Hall told the Proper Sport podcast.

“We don’t know how much it will cost to open the stadium when you factor in social distancing and PPE. And then you’ve got testing, it’s huge money to be able to test everyone. No club will be able to afford that.

“Things are changing really quickly. What might be true on Monday morning, is sometimes no longer true on Monday afternoon and what’s best practice on Monday afternoon isn’t on Tuesday morning.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We just need to be patient – we need to do what’s right and we’re all – the RFL, the Super League, all the teams – trying our very best to get to a situation which can hopefully please everybody.”

The Dons played two league matches before the season was suspended indefinitely.

“I feel really lost without the game,” said Hall. “I don’t think I realised the size of the role this sport played in my life and it’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.

“The impact on both us and Doncaster Rovers is big. It’s a sporting business Club Doncaster but it’s well led by Gavin Baldwin and, throughout all of this, he and the owners have been magnificent to the club and to the two football teams we have here.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s really important that we look after our players. During these times, when everyone is being asked to stay at home, the big, big fear was for the families and whether they’d be able to work, so I tip my hat to our owners because our players have been looked after throughout these testing times.”