RUGBY league’s Reserves Championship will not continue when the sport’s fixture list resumes.

The second-string competition, which had been reintroduced by the RFL for 2020, will not be played for the remainder of this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, it is anticipated that the tournament will return for 2021.

But clubs will still be encouraged to pay friendly matches between each other once sporting activity in the UK continues, with the prospect of a nines festival having been mooting.

Meanwhile, the game’s governing body says that ‘flexibility’ will be needed in playing the remainder of the Academy Championship and scholarship comp.

The RFL’s chief on-field officer Dave Rotheram said: “We have had extensive discussions with clubs about how best to amend our schedules for the Reserves League, Academy Championship and u16s scholarship in this unprecedented period – bearing in mind the three pillars of player welfare, competition integrity and financial sustainability.

“We regarded the revival of a Reserves League as an important step forward this year, the clubs were supportive of that, and the season had started well until the abrupt suspension of all rugby league activity last month.

“We have to recognise that the priority for clubs whenever activity can resume will be completing the first team season, and that is why we have cancelled the Reserves League for 2020.

“But equally, clubs are aware that they have invested in the return of reserves and made commitments to players, so we will be encouraging them to be imaginative in finding ways to provide competitive rugby for squad players by arranging friendly fixtures which could involve pooling players between clubs or even playing nines matches or festivals.

“We will also need to be flexible in terms of resuming the Academy Championship for u18s and the u16s scholarship programme, and we have already spoken to heads of youth about some possible changes to the schedule.

“Public health remains the priority for the RFL and the sport, but we are also determined to ensure the game is ready to resume in the strongest possible way whenever that is appropriate and the talented young players in our clubs’ academies and scholarship programmes will have a big part to play in our future.”