YORK City Knights Ladies’ 2020 season is over after the RFL announced that this year’s competitions will not go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Knights were looking to improve upon their finish of seventh (from eight clubs) in the Betfred Super League in 2019, but both the Super League and the Women’s Challenge Cup have been cancelled, the sports’ governing body confirmed.

The RFL have said that new training sessions and local friendlies will be arranged in order to maintain the momentum of growth in the women’s game.

Marc Lovering, the RFL’s participation and development director said: “The cancellation of the competitions is a huge sadness for the players, coaches, volunteers and all of us committed to the continued growth of Women’s Rugby League, after such high hopes for a best ever season.

“We have taken time to explore every possible option for the competitions. We have been in close dialogue with clubs and foundations throughout the interruption caused by the Covid-19 situation.

“The complex work needed with Government and other partners to build return to play strategies in contact sports has meant that full contact Rugby League, with rule adaptions, is only likely to return in October – and then only in the form of local friendlies with limited travel. We are therefore timed out of delivering these prestigious competitions safely and with integrity.

“Together our focus is on group training activities at clubs leading to the October friendlies and, for the players in the Performance squads, dedicated England training sessions and a programme of support for players and coaches ahead of the start of next season and the World Cup year.

“We will continue to support clubs with training and player recruitment resources. We also remain very grateful to our sponsors at a national and club level for the support they have continued to show Women’s Rugby League in this challenging and unprecedented time.

“We hope the whole sport shows its support for the Women’s friendly fixtures in October, and for the England Performance Squads as they step up their training at this crucial time.”