BOTH Keighley Cougars and Bradford Bulls will have to wait to start their 2021 season after Championship and League One clubs agreed to a delay.

The league campaign had been pencilled in to get underway on the final weekend of February for Bulls and in mid-March for Cougars but is now set to begin later in the spring after a virtual meeting held last night.

Championship clubs have at least been cleared to make a staggered return to training from this weekend following the pause advised by the RFL last week in response to the latest lockdown.

From Saturday, Bulls will be able to take part in “stage one plus”, which allows socially-distanced non-contact training outdoors. The plan is to step up to contact work from February 1.

League One clubs, such as Cougars, will be cleared to begin a similar staged process next month.

All clubs must satisfy the RFL that they are able to meet strict conditions regarding testing and biosecurity.

Further details of the schedule for the season, including the early rounds of the Challenge Cup, will be published over the weekend following further feedback from the clubs and consultation with the RFL board.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “We have been grateful to our clubs throughout the last 10 months for their responsible and constructive approach to such a challenging period for all, and Wednesday’s meeting was another example of that.”