OLDHAM Rugby League Club are already planning for the 2021 Betfred Championship season after announcing they will not compete in the Rugby Football League’s invitational competition for Championship and League One clubs.

Roughyeds’ chairman Chris Hamilton said the club will not take part in the voluntary event – planned for October and November – and will instead prepare for the new campaign.

In a statement to fans on the club’s website, he said: “This was going to be an exciting year as we wanted to cement our promotion back to the Championship. We will now redouble our efforts for 2021 to make sure that happens.

“We also have to be realistic about the financial position in which Covid-19 has left the club.

“We face new challenges for the remainder of this year and into 2021 at least.

“Because of the pandemic, clubs in the Championship and League One will receive reduced central distribution by 15 to 20 per cent next year and that alone leaves us to fill a financial hole of £27,000.

“It remains a constant challenge to keep the club going and it is now more vital than ever that we all pull together in the same direction.

“If anybody has any suggestions for raising money, we will be glad to hear them.

“In the meantime, we are busy on squad strengthening for next season and we are confident we will put together a squad that will see us establish ourselves in the Championship.

“Your help has never been more important.”

Hamilton also told fans that the club couldn’t compete in the upcoming autumn tournament because it couldn’t comply with the bio-secure requirements issued by the Government and adapted for rugby league by the RFL.

A club’s training base, for example, had to have no access to the public – impossible at a community facility like the Vestacare Stadium – and squads were not allowed to train at off-site gyms, which Oldham do.

The statement went on: “We were simply not able to comply.

“The decision wasn’t taken lightly but there were other considerations as well. The squad has not trained together since March 14 and while they have continued to do what has been possible on their own, it was only a small part of what they would normally do.”