Rugby league: Newcastle Thunder pull out of 2024 season after Championship relegation

Newcastle Thunder have said all staff and player contracts will be honoured as they look for new clubs after pulling out the 2024 season. Credit: PA

Newcastle Thunder have announced that they will not take part in the 2024 season.

The rugby league side were relegated from the Betfred Championship this year and were due to play in league one.

However, Thunder announced that it wasn't "feasible to continue" citing the impact of Covid-19 and the low growth of the sport in the North East.

The club, who are under the same ownership as the Newcastle Falcons, have said they will fulfil all player and staff contracts as they seek to find new clubs. There is hope that a new home can be found for the team in the future.

In a statement, Thunder said: "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."

The club also thanked staff, fans and sponsors for their help and support over the years.

Falcons have confirmed Thunder's decision not to compete will not affect their preparations for the upcoming season.

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A statement from Newcastle Rugby Limited said: "The decision that Newcastle Thunder will not compete in Betfred League One has no effect on Newcastle Rugby Ltd and our rugby union team, Newcastle Falcons.

"We remain committed to being here for years to come and are continuing to push ahead with exciting plans for both this season and those to come.

"Our thoughts are with everyone involved with Newcastle Thunder and we wish them all the best in the future."

Thunder were founded in 1999 under the guise of Gateshead Thunder before being rebranded when they were taken over by Falcon's owners in 2015.

Thunder are the second team to have pulled out of League One after London Skolars with a meeting arranged to consider the impact on the division.