The Rugby Football League (RFL) and Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) announced on Monday that the 2020 Rugby League ashes series, set to be held in England in November, have been cancelled amidst concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was set to be Australia's first full tour of England since 2003, but the Kangaroos will now not be coming to England until they try to retain the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
Australia's premier domestic league, the NRL, has returned to Rugby, although England's Super League is still currently postponed.
Despite the setbacks regarding this years' ashes, the RLWC2021 is still set to be played for all senior teams (Mens, Womens and Wheelchair) next season.
'With great reluctance and disappointment'
On the cancellation of the Ashes series, Ralph Rimmer, the Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League, said:
“We make this announcement with great reluctance and disappointment, as we had been looking forward so much to welcoming the Kangaroos for the revival of the Rugby League Ashes in 2020 – and the prospect of the series had captured the imagination of our players, broadcast & commercial partners, supporters and media alike.
“However the current circumstances have had a seismic impact on Rugby League, as on all other sports, and we all now need to give, in order to find solutions for the greater and longer term good of the game.
"After regular discussions with the ARLC over the last few months, combined with those within our domestic competitions, we have concluded that the right thing to do for the game as a whole is to make this decision now."
'Considerable impact on finances'
Continuing in his statement on the RFL website, Ralph Rimmer said:
“It will have a considerable impact on the finances of Rugby League here in England, as we were banking on a significant boost from Australia’s first full tour since 2003.
"But as I have said regularly to all parts of the game since the seriousness of the situation became clear, we are all going to have to make sacrifices, and financial adjustments – and we should stress again our gratitude to the Government for the significant support they provided at the start of May, which will help us to deal with this major setback."