BULLS part-owner Mark Sawyer fears rugby league could struggle to survive without financial aid after the season was suspended.

A decision was taken late yesterday to stop games at all levels after a meeting of Super League clubs at Huddersfield.

The ban is in place until at least April 3 and follows the government’s latest coronavirus measures which have included stopping supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers.

The Bulls were due to play at Swinton on Sunday and then Batley the following week – neither of which will now go ahead. But as with other sports, the suspension is expected to be longer through the pandemic sweeping the world.

Championship clubs will hold a conference call later today when they will discuss the serious ramifications that the sport is now likely to face from an immediate future without any money coming in.

Sawyer said: “The situation is moving all the time and everybody knows the problem is a lot bigger than rugby league. We’re just a little speck of it.

“The sport, as a whole, has always been very resilient.

“But to put it into perspective, if it was to catch a little bit of a cold there would be problems and this is very serious.

“We’re trying to get our heads round how the game itself can survive.

“It isn’t a case of one club having problems. I’ve spoken to several people at Super League clubs and they’ve got the same issues on a bigger scale.

“It’s extremely worrying because clubs rely on filling stadia, selling drinks and food etc. It’s a conveyor belt of income coming in.

“The worry is whether or not the game is strong enough to stand up to this.”

Dewsbury’s game at Toulouse had already been called off as the French club shut their offices as part of the lockdown in the country.

While domestic football was suspended on Friday, the Challenge Cup continued over the weekend with the Bulls narrowly beaten at Super League Wakefield.

There had been suggestions that games might be able to continue behind closed doors. But that would not have been an acceptable option for Sawyer.

“You’d obviously still have all your staff and players to pay with no money coming in,” he added. “It’s extremely worrying for people who get a living out of the game.

“If suddenly you can’t play any matches and you haven’t got any income at all, then it’s fairly obvious what’s going to happen.

“The Government should play a role in it and needs to make the decision whether it wants the sport to survive.”

Keighley Cougars have also been affected with League One stopped. The implications at all levels will be discussed with the governing body over the next couple of days.

Sawyer said: "It’s certainly brought Super League and Championship clubs closer. Everybody is in it together and there’s a bit of a siege mentality.”