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Rugby League: Relegated Newcastle Thunder withdraw from pro game - continuation 'isn’t feasible'

Newcastle Thunder have withdrawn from the professional game following their relegation from the Betfred Championship.

The north-east club announced on Friday it “isn’t feasible to continue” at League One level.

Their decision not to participate in the third-tier competition comes just weeks after London Skolars also pulled out.

A statement read: “It is with great sadness that we make this announcement. Growing rugby league in the north east was an incredible journey and we are all devastated that it did not work out.

“Unfortunately, the impact of Covid-19, combined with the low levels of regional growth and development in the game, means it just isn’t feasible to continue.

“This was not the decision we wanted to make and we remain hopeful that we can find a new home for the team.”

The club – which was owned by Newcastle Falcons – confirmed they would fulfil all remaining player and staff contracts.

Their withdrawal leaves League One with just eight clubs for the 2024 season and will further raise questions of whether a restructure of the game below Super League level is required immediately.

Newcastle, who had recently reverted to part-time status after running a full-time team for a spell, finished bottom of the 14-team Championship this year.

The club was formed as Gateshead Thunder in 2000 after the previous side of that name, which had been participating in Super League, merged with Hull. They rebranded as Newcastle after linking with the Falcons in 2015.

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