THE Bulls and Keighley Cougars are set to benefit from a share of the £16 million government lifeline to safeguard rugby league.

The emergency loan that the RFL have been pleading for was today confirmed – and will come as a huge relief to clubs while the current lockdown goes on.

“This is a massive shot in the arm to secure the survival of rugby league,” said Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“We recognise that many RFL clubs operate on very tight financial margins. Without their ability to stage matches with spectators and despite the government’s extensive economic package, the professional game has come very close to collapsing.

“From my first sports visit as secretary of state to Leigh Centurions, I could see how important these clubs are to the communities they serve.

“They are the beating heart of their towns and cities, and their impact goes far beyond what happens on the pitch.

“Sports across the board are facing unprecedented pressures, and we are supporting them through wider government measures.

“In this case we are intervening as an exception, not to save an individual business or organisation, but to protect an entire sport, the community it supports, the World Cup held here next year and its legacy for generations to come.”

The RFL will oversee the funding and all clubs from Super League, the Championship and League One are eligible to apply.

Chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “The RFL is grateful to the government for understanding and acting on the case for the whole sport.

“Rugby League is not a wealthy sport but is rich in the things that matter most – outstanding sporting and life chances in often disadvantaged communities.

“The effects of lockdown at the start of our season genuinely threatened the survival of our clubs at all levels and their ability to continue delivering those positive social and economic impacts.

“Watching and playing sport together, including rugby league, has a role to play in the nation’s recovery. We are part of that national sporting landscape.

“In the meantime, we continue to work at the heart of our communities, helping wherever we can.”