WORK is intensifying to resume a 2020 rugby league season that will almost certainly be extended from its scheduled October finish.

This is in response to the Goverment's recent plan for gradual, small steps in the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures including a desire for bringing back live sport at the top level no sooner than next month.

Step 1 has seen people being able to resume playing sports such as fishing, golf and tennis in a safe way that still involves social distancing.

The 50-page Government document that maps out what may be possible in the future includes in step 2, for consideration not before June 1: "Cultural and sporting events will be able to take place behind closed doors for broadcast from next month, avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact."

A Betfred Super League statement says clubs have welcomed the latest advice on the route to a resumption of the 2020 season – and have reaffirmed their determination to do everything necessary to be ready to stage matches this summer and, as soon as it is safe, in front of fans.

Representatives of all 12 clubs have considered the implications of the guidelines for staging behind-closed-doors matches and examined what might be a realistic expectation for when crowds are allowed to return.

Detailed discussions have also taken place regarding a safe and coordinated return to training of players, the majority of whom have been placed on furlough by clubs and are training at home to maintain fitness.

A group of nominated clubs continue to examine a number of scenarios for the resumption of the season, with supporters still very much at the forefront of those discussions.

Those scenarios are likely to see fixtures rearranged to later in the year as part of an extended season.

Health of the public remains number one priority throughout the game but Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said the positive messages from the Government regarding the resumption of sport are welcomed.

He added: "Clearly, this is an important first step in getting us back playing again – but this is also the first step in a complex process that will require more of the game-wide collaboration evident to date, as we look to find solutions, and deal with uncertainties.

"We share with our fans, players, broadcast and commercial partners the desire to get back on the field as soon as possible, in line with Government advice on protecting everyone involved with our sport and the wider community we serve.

"Potential season start dates are all being considered as part of the extensive work going into fixtures scheduling and, while health remains paramount, we are committed to exploring all opportunities to deliver live rugby league in front of crowds."