YORK City Knights' pre-season training has been put on hold following the government's introduction of a third national lockdown.

The Rugby Football League has advised clubs in the Betfred Championship and Betfred League 1 to stop training as they prepare for the 2021 season, which is set to begin in February.

The move has raised question marks over whether the season will begin on time and end a near year-long wait for rugby league action to resume below Betfred Super League.

The Knights have been in training from November and the Championship season is due to begin on the weekend of February 27/28.

A statement issued by the RFL read: "The RFL has advised clubs in Betfred Championship and League 1 to pause their pre-season training programmes for the next two weeks, in recognition of the national crisis, and with more than seven weeks until the scheduled start of the 2021 season.

This will allow detailed discussions with clubs, before the publication of fixtures – which will be delayed, as will the draw for the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup, until a further announcement later this month."

Community rugby league, which was due to return this month, is "now required to be suspended under government rules," added the governing body.

"The RFL will be contacting community clubs and whilst recognising that the priority remains the public health emergency, will continue to stress to government, working with other sports, the importance of team sports in terms of the nation’s mental and physical fitness, and the importance of community clubs in terms of social cohesion – and will work towards a return of training then competitions as soon as possible this spring".

Clubs in the Betfred Women's Super League, including York City Knights Ladies, have also seen their pre-season preparations put on hold.