Section A2: Minimum Standards
A2:1 Each Club shall ensure that at all times its ground complies with the Facility Standards as set out below subject to any dispensations agreed by the Board from time to time. In addition, each Club shall formulate and maintain in force ground regulations, which must be in accordance with such instructions as the RFL may give from time to time and which must, in particular, state that each entrant to the ground must comply with the regulations and these Operational Rules. Each Club shall:
- ensure that such regulations are notified to the RFL at least one month prior to the start of each Season and upon each occasion when amendments are made thereto; and
- at least one month prior to the start of each season supply a copy of a current ground safety certificate to the RFL and advise the RFL in writing forthwith if such certificate is amended or revoked.
Without prejudice to any other provision of these Operational Rules, each Club agrees to ensure that its Ground and facilities comply with all rules, regulations, statutes or any other rules which have the force of law in the country in which the team plays its home matches and which relate to Health and Safety, Safety at Sports Grounds and safety of spectators at such grounds. Such regulations and statutes in the UK shall include (but not by way of limitation), the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984, the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, the Fire Precautions Act 1971 the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Where a Club is granted permission to play its first team games on a non designated ground it shall be a requirement that the Club shall manage the ground in every respect as if it was a designated ground under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 and any other relevant legislation.
A2:3 Each Club agrees to comply with the requirements of the Facility Standards document previously known as "Framing the Future" as published and amended by the Board from time to time (the "Facility Standards ").
A2:4 All objections under these Operational Rules relating to the Facility Standards must be sent to the Board. The Board may cause the ground to be inspected at any time and if the report it receives makes the Board consider the ground is unsuitable it may refuse to allow a match or matches to be played thereon and/or may order the Club concerned to undertake such alterations and/or improvements as it thinks fit.
ARTIFICIAL GRASS PITCHES
A2:5 Artificial grass pitches may be utilized in all competitions subject to the following conditions:
- The installed artificial grass pitch has been laboratory tested and shown to fully comply with the relevant laboratory test requirements of the Rugby Football League Performance and Construction Standards for Synthetic Turf Rugby League Competition and Training Pitches.
- Surfaces to be used on Super League or Championship pitches shall have satisfied the ‘Stadium’ category of performance whilst surfaces used on all other levels of competition shall satisfy the ‘Stadium’ or ‘Community’ categories of performance.
- The installed pitch shall hold a valid Field Test Certificate showing it fully complies with the relevant field test requirements of the Rugby Football League Performance and Construction Standards for Synthetic Turf Rugby League Competition and Training Pitches.
- The installed pitch shall be available for inspection by the RFL (or its agents) at such reasonable time as the RFL shall require and the Club using the pitch shall be responsible for the reasonable costs of such inspections.
Pitches used for Super League and Championship matches shall satisfy the ‘Stadium’ category of performance, whilst pitches used for all other levels of competition shall satisfy the ‘Stadium’ or ‘Community’ categories of performance.
A2:6 If a Club has a giant screen facility, it will comply with all directions and guidance that the Board may give from time to time in relation thereto.
PERMANENT CHANGE OF GROUND
- No Club shall change permanently the ground where it normally plays competitive matches during its league season unless exceptional circumstances can be shown to exist. No Club shall permanently change the ground where it normally plays competitive matches without both first giving 30 days' notice to the Board and obtaining the prior written consent of the Board. The Board shall either refuse or grant the application and there shall be no appeal from the Board's decision.
- No Club shall change temporarily the venue where it normally plays competitive matches without the prior written consent of the Board. The Board shall take such criteria as it thinks fit into consideration when reaching its decision.
- The Board shall be entitled to require a Club to produce such documents and may request the attendance of such individuals as it may reasonably require in order to assist in making its decision in A2:7 (a) or (b) above.
- If any Club wishes to change its ground permanently, it must, (at the same time as it notifies the Board of its intent to change grounds pursuant to Section A2:7 (a) above), prove to the Board that the new ground complies with the RFL's Facility Standards and all relevant legislation in force from time to time and these Operational Rules. For the avoidance of doubt, compliance with these Standards shall not mean that the Board is obliged to grant the application and non-compliance shall not prevent the Board from granting such dispensations as it thinks fit.
- In the event that the Board consents to a Club temporarily or permanently changing its ground in accordance with section A2:7 (a) and/or (b) above, the Board shall be entitled to impose such reasonable sanctions and/or conditions (financial or otherwise) on the Club as it considers fit.
PRIMACY OF TENURE
A2:8 Each Club must satisfy the Primacy of Tenure requirements either at its Ground or by using an Alternative Ground which must be registered with the RFL and which must meet the Facility Standards which apply to the Competitions in which the Clubs plays (save where appropriate dispensation has been granted by the Board).
PITCH DIMENSIONS/PLAYING AREA
A2:9 Pitch dimensions shall be registered with the RFL by Clubs at least 7 days prior to the start of each Season, by completing the form prescribed by the RFL from time to time and sending it to the Board and once registered must not be altered during the Season without the permission of the Board. If a Club fails to comply with its obligations under this clause, its pitch dimensions shall be deemed to be those on which it played on during the preceding Season.
A2:10 The playing area must be in a fit playing condition (in the appropriate Match Official's opinion) and must comply in all respects with the Laws of the Game and with the Facility Standards. Clubs are responsible for ensuring that the pitch and surrounding areas are maintained in a safe condition. In any event, the minimum playing requirements are:
- a clear playing area of not less than 88 metres from goal line to goal line and 55 metres from touch line to touch line;
- that the dead ball line shall be not less than 6 metres nor more than 11 metres behind the goal line;
- that there shall be a suitable clear margin of 3 metres along the touch lines and dead ball lines;
- that there is a permanent solid barrier excluding the spectators from the playing area.
Where the achievement of A2:10 (a) and (b) above can only be achieved to the exclusion of A2:10 (c) then for the avoidance of doubt and as a temporary measure only the pitch should be marked to ensure that there is a clear margin of 3 metres with the distance between the dead ball line and the goal line reduced accordingly. Where the playing area is larger than the minimum specified above and the ground otherwise fulfils requirements it shall not be reduced for the purposes of any Match unless directed by the Board of Directors. The appropriate appointed Match Official may order the pitch markings to be changed if he thinks fit prior to allowing a Match to kick off.
Where a Club cannot achieve a margin of 3 metres but can achieve 2 metres it may apply to the RFL for dispensation to have collapsible or padded structures within 2m and 3m of the touch and dead ball lines. For the avoidance of doubt a padded TV camera may be placed in between 2m and 3m of the touch and dead ball lines but photographers may not. Persons carrying out official duties under these Operational Rules may also be within 2m and 3m of the touch and dead ball lines
A2:11 Notwithstanding the provisions set out above, the Board shall have power to make, and each Club agrees to comply with, additional rules and regulations relating to the standard of grounds (including but not limited to their capacity, seating accommodation, playing area, security, dressing rooms, car parking, segregation of spectators) or any other matter whatsoever which can vary according to the divisional status of the Club at a particular time. Notwithstanding the aforementioned the Board may upon complaint by the Police, any Match Official or other Member give instructions to a Member as to the conduct of operations at or conditions at its ground, whether such instruction requires structural work to be carried out or not and may grant such dispensations as it thinks fit.
A2:12 Each Club in Membership should have a current Club Mark Gold validation or being “working towards” Club Mark Gold.