THE long-awaited return of rugby league’s community game is set to be approved this week, but it has its stipulations.

The government sign-off on the RFL’s return of community rugby league action plan is imminent. The map outlines firstly bringing back the non-contact element of the game, including social formats such as touch and try tag.

This phase will be followed, subject to a review led by the RFL’s clinical advisory group at the end of August, with an eased return to full contact, which would include modifications such as removal of scrums.

Last April, the likes of the National Conference League suspended their 2020 campaign, instead seeking to adopt a series of regionalised group games once the sport was able to resume.

However, with today's RFL announcement, it looks like the best clubs can hope for is local friendlies taking place towards the back end of the year.

RFL director of participation and development Marc Lovering said: “This is a major step forward for the community game and we were able to share the news with community game stakeholders first hand yesterday.

“When our entire sport was brought to an abrupt halt in March, some parts of the community game were playing and some were yet to begin their seasons. We knew then that resumption would be fluid and complicated.

“We didn’t want to arbitrarily curtail league and cup competitions too quickly, but instead wanted to work closely with leagues, foundations and clubs, and to respond to the situation as it unfolded.

“We have taken a long-term approach to the evolving situation around the public health and the lockdown of sports, with the aim of keeping as many options open for as long as possible.

“The impact on the community game has been severe and, sadly, there will be insufficient time to complete competitions once full contact returns. Our focus now is on supporting clubs with localised friendly fixtures in the autumn.”