NORTH WALES CRUSADERS’ 2020 season is over after they decided against participating in a Rugby Football League invitational competition.

The autumn competition - set to run across October and November - was organised by the RFL after the cancellation of the 2020 Championship and League One seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the competition will not offer any promotion and relegation between divisions, there is a £250,000 prize fund at stake.

The RFL statement explained: “The Championship and League One clubs will be invited to play in a competition this autumn, with a theme of celebrating the sport’s 125th anniversary – and with a prize pot of £250,000, thanks in part to financial support from the Super League clubs.”

But after careful consideration, Crusaders have opted out of taking part, instead focusing their efforts on planning for the 2021 League One season.

Crusaders chief executive officer Andy Moulsdale issued the following statement: “Having spoken about our options for 2020 and beyond the board have decided it is in the club’s best interest not to take part in the competition and focus all our energies into making sure the club come back stronger on and off the pitch in 2021.

“As a board we have a duty of care to both the club and the supporters. Financially the board has worked very hard to manage its way through this pandemic.

“The club will now start contacting our sponsors and season ticket holders to start opening discussions about 2020 reclaim options and 2021 sponsorship opportunities.

“A huge amount of work is ongoing to manage our costs and revenue streams over the next few months which will hopefully enable us to move forward through these times.

“It is vital that everyone associated with club remains together. Crusaders has always been about sticking together, we have always come out the other side when faced with adversity.

“We have some encouraging news to come out in the coming days about the 2021 season. Thank you for your continued support.”

Crusaders managed just four matches during the 2020 campaign, beating Rochdale Mayfield 64-6 in the Challenge Cup and London Skolars 40-16 in League One.

Anthony Murray’s men also suffered league and Challenge Cup defeats to Hunslet, who have confirmed that their season is over.

Hunslet chairman Kenny Sykes said: “As I mentioned previously, the long term sustainability of the club is of paramount importance and the simple fact is that it would not be financially viable for us to participate due largely to the costs of testing together with the impact of having to take our players out of furlough to allow them to return to training.

“I realise this will be disappointing and frustrating news to all involved with the club and I can assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly, but we firmly believe it’s the right one for the club.”

Newcastle have also called time on 2020, chairman Mick Hogan saying: “Even with limited crowds returning in October and potential prize money for the autumn competition the logistical, operational and financial challenges are too great.”