Featherstone Rovers boss James Webster hopes RFL will not "turn their backs" on communities

Coach James Webster says Featherstone Rovers are ready to resume action and the Rugby Football League needs to finally decide on the Championship’s future as soon as possible.

By Dave Craven
Sunday, 5th July 2020, 12:00 pm
Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster (JPIMedia)
Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster (JPIMedia)

The West Yorkshire club are one of many in the second-tier growing increasingly frustrated at the ongoing impasse regarding returning to play after coronavirus.

Although Super League has been given the go-ahead for August 2, Championship and League 1 clubs are still in the dark on whether they will resume the 2020 season which has been shutdown since March.

With the prospect of returning to action behind closed doors and needing to bring part-time players off furlough, some feel it could spell financial disaster and it would be better to null and void the campaign.

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Others are in favour of a return but there is still no word from the RFL - who have a board meeting on Monday - nor has anything been confirmed about promotion and relegation.

That has an important bearing on clubs such as Featherstone who are keen to reach Super League. Bradford Bulls and Halifax are among those who have this week expressed a desire to restart the season.

Webster said: “I have always been careful to not comment on situations that I don’t have full knowledge of. I have not been privy to all discussions that have taken place behind closed doors at Red Hall and nor should I.

“So it would be wrong of me to comment on whether or not decisions should have been made to date regarding the resumption of the Championship.

“What I do know is that the RFL is run by good people much more qualified than myself.

“I’d hope and trust that the RFL deliver on what they are technically there to provide: making the decisions for the good of the game which include staunch rugby league communities such as Featherstone.

“If Featherstone, along with strong rugby league communities such as Bradford, Halifax, Leigh and York, can see a way of providing both a safe and financially viable competition then I trust the RFL will not turn their backs on those communities but instead bring strong leadership to drive us to play in 2020.”

Webster says Rovers are able to meet all the safety requirements needed to start training and playing again.

“Featherstone have always punched above our weight,” he added.

“If we have been able to fully comply and install every aspect required then I am sure all Championship teams would have also.”