Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC may have had positive results on the pitch today - winning 24-22 against Salford Red Devils and 18-16 against Huddersfield Giants respectively - but it won’t be either team’s performances that will be talked about for long by their respective supporters, as the bigger news today that emerged out of the RFL was that the Hull Derby would be played at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium over 100 miles away.
Coronavirus has arguably had a bigger affect on Rugby League than any other sport
COVID-19 has hit Rugby League worse than any other sport for fixture cancellations, with the majority of teams affected over the past few weeks, and Toronto Wolfpack falling victim financially to the coronavirus pandemic by pulling out of the league before the season resumed back in July.
There are numerous reasons for this - closer contact sport; the fact that it is primarily in the north where the tightest lockdown restrictions have been put in place over the last few weeks - but the main one is money. Rugby League just doesn’t have the financial clout to make the sport viable, and clubs are struggling massively from lost revenue. The idea that the sport could be played in a ‘bubble’ like over in the United States is laughable when the cost of it is brought into consideration.
Neutral venues used to be COVID-compliant - but what’s compliant about this?
From the restart of the season, games were played at neutral venues to be COVID-compliant. Emerald Headingley was used for a large number of games at the beginning of the restart, and considering that games were behind closed doors and that Leeds is pretty central to the majority of the teams in Super League, this worked fine to begin with.
However, with the new fixtures released today came the news that both Hull teams will have to travel from a Tier One location (Medium Alert) to a Tier Three Location (Very High Alert) for their Derby on Thursday October 29th live on Sky Sports.
This decision must be reversed - for the good of the sport
Common sense must prevail here. The fact that Hull is the lowest possible tier of alert should make it a no brainer that the game is played in the city. As fans are still not able to attend, home advantage would not really be something that either side could claim.
The decision to make two teams travel over 100 miles to a very high risk area is surely something that must be reversed, not only for the good of both teams, but for the good of the sport too.