Operational Rules

Section B7: Academy & Championships Player Development Programmes

The aim of the Academy and Championships Player Development (CPD) Programmes is to provide the Game’s outstanding young players with an opportunity to develop their talents and abilities in a professional environment through a modern Rugby League education and to organise for them highly disciplined and intense matches appropriate to their needs within the Safeguarding Policy. The primary purpose of the Academy and CPD Programme is the development of players for the club’s First Team.

The provisions of the RFL Operational Rules, RFL Match Day Operations Manual and RFL Medical Standards apply to all Academy and CPD Programme Teams unless specifically provided for within this Section B7 of the Operational Rules. All Players and Officials taking part in the Academy and CPD Programme are Persons Subject to the Operational Rules.

B7:1 The Board will produce an Application Timetable and the Requirements which will apply Academy Endorsement or CPD Programme Endorsement. The Board, in its sole discretion, will decide whether to grant Endorsement. For the avoidance of doubt no Club may run an Academy or CPD Programme or any Club Player Development (or run a team at an equivalent level) without Endorsement.

B7:2 Super League and Championships Clubs may apply for Endorsement (as set out below) providing that they can demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of the RFL that the Club can meet the Requirements set out below:

  1. Fulfil the aims of the Academy and/or CPD Programme as set out above;
  2. Comply with the Operations Rules set out in Section B7 and the remainder of the RFL Official Guide;
  3. Meet the human resource and financial demands required to fulfil the Entry Criteria (B7);
  4. Meet the requirements of the Minimum Standards as set out below (B7);
  5. Maintain an Academy or CPD Programme which is fit for purpose at all times;
  6. Fully support and commit to player development within their own area and/or region; and
  7. Comply with the RFL Safeguarding Policy.

B7:3 Both Super League and Championships Clubs may apply to run an Academy in which case the Club must run an Academy at both Under 19 and Under 16.
Championships Clubs may apply to run a CPD Programme.

B7:4 The Board will consider the applications and decide whether in their opinion (acting reasonably) each Club can meet the Requirements and whether to grant Endorsement.

B7:5 The Board has the right to grant dispensations to the Application Timetable and the Requirements at its sole discretion.

B7:6 The Board reserves the right to refuse Endorsement to any Club who in the Board’s opinion cannot demonstrate that it can meet the Requirements or who has failed to meet the Requirements in previous seasons or who has received Endorsement for a season and failed to complete its commitments that season.

B7:7 It is a condition of Endorsement that Clubs continue to meet the Requirements throughout the season. The Board reserve the right to inspect and monitor a Club’s performance against the Requirements at any time.

B7:8 The Board may withdraw Endorsement from any Club which is found to be failing to meet the Requirements. Endorsement may be withdrawn immediately or at the conclusion of the playing season.

B7:9 In addition to having its Endorsement withdrawn a Club which fails to meet the Requirements may also be charged with Misconduct under Section D1 or a breach of the Safeguarding Policy under D1 and/or D4.

B7:10 A Club which receives Endorsement for a Season and then fails to run an Academy or CPD Programme for that Season or fails to complete its playing or other commitments for that season is guilty of Misconduct and may be fined up to £3000.


See Section C1:6 of these Operational Rules.


B7:11 All matches will be played under the auspices of the RFL, the Operational Rules and the Laws of the Game save that the duration of matches in the Under 16 Academy shall be 35 minutes each way.

B7:12 The RFL will organise a schedule of matches for each of the Academy Under 19, Academy U16 and Championship Under 20 competitions on dates agreed with the Community Board prior to the start of the playing season. Clubs may not play matches outside this schedule without the specific permission of the RFL.

B7:13 The venue for all Academy/CPD fixtures shall wherever possible be the home ground of the first team.

B7:14 Should it be necessary to play fixtures on an alternative venue, this must be a ground approved by the RFL for Academy/CPD fixtures or the Club must have submitted an Academy/CPD Facility Standards Self Certification form which has been approved by the RFL for that season. The alternative venue must fully meet the Academy/CPD Ground and Facilities Standards as in force at any given time. The RFL reserves the right to carry out a full Facility Standards check on any ground which has been registered under Self Certification and may withdraw approval to use the ground if it is not satisfied that the ground meets the Facility Standards.

B7:15 Wherever possible Academy Under 19 matches should be played as curtain raisers to club’s first team. Where this is not possible and mutual agreement cannot be reached, matches shall be played on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick-off. Where neither of these is possible, the latest acceptable date is the Monday following the date scheduled for the fixture. Where there is a dispute between Clubs or where otherwise necessary for the completion of the competition the RFL shall decide the venue, date and kick off time of matches.

B7:16 On occasions where an Academy/CPD match is played as a curtain raiser be it on the clubs home ground or an alternative venue the ground must meet the “Academy/CPD Minimum Standards” applicable to curtain raisers.

B7:17 Where an Academy/CPD match is played as a curtain raiser to a First Team match, the home club shall supply 25 tickets for the use of the away team player’s parents/guests.

B7:18 Matches scheduled for a weekend may be brought forward to a Thursday or Friday evening if mutually agreed via the appropriate Fixture Amendment Form. Clubs are expected to give a minimum of 14 days notice of any change to a scheduled fixture except in exceptional circumstances. On occasions where the Match Officials have already been appointed it is the responsibility of the home club to inform the appointees.

B7:19 Home clubs will be responsible for submitting results and other relevant details (scorers from both teams etc) to the Academy/CPD Programme Press Officer within 2 hours of the completion of the match by such means as requested from time to time. Failure to submit the result within this period will be forwarded to the Compliance Manager as Misconduct.

B7:20 Both home and away clubs shall play in the colours of their First Team (but not necessarily the same design) as registered with the RFL prior to the start of the season. Failure to observe this requirement may result in the offending side or sides being fined and in the event of the match not taking place may be liable for all expenses incurred.

B7:21 When a match is postponed for a valid reason or by mutual consent a new date must be agreed and confirmed to the RFL within 7 days of the postponement. Where Clubs are unable to agree the RFL will adjudicate.

B7:22 If a match is postponed for a reason deemed unsatisfactory, the defaulting club may be fined £250 in the first instance of that season, £500 in the second instance and for each subsequent instance, More than two occurrences may result in the club being considered to have failed to fulfil its Endorsement and it may be expelled from the Academy/CPD programme.as per Rule B7:6.

B7:23 When a match is postponed for an unsatisfactory reason the Operations Department shall have the power to determine whether the game should be rearranged or that the match points be awarded to the non-defaulting club. If a club withdraws from or is expelled from the Academy/CPDP the Operations Department shall decide whether to award competition points (and where appropriate points for and against), expunge results or reschedule fixtures.

B7:24 In instances when a game is postponed at short notice (day of the match) where the non-defaulting club has experienced a legitimate expense by the game not going ahead the offending club shall meet that expense.
Reasons considered unsatisfactory include:

  1. Inability to raise a team.
  2. Inability to provide a suitable ground.
  3. Social commitments of players and/or Academy/CPDP staff.
  4. First team commitments of Academy/CPDP staff.
  5. Failure to provide a Doctor and/or Physiotherapist

B7:25 The referee shall be the sole arbiter of time in all Academy/CPD matches.


B7:26 The League and Play-off Series including the Grand Final will be determined by the RFL prior to the start of each season.

B7:27 In the Grand Final home advantage is awarded to the highest placed home winner of the Qualifying Semi Finals (Week 3) providing that the game is played on the ground used by their first team where it is not the RFL shall determine which ground the match is played on which may include the ground of the other finalist.

B7:28 When a Play-off Series match results in a draw at the end of 80 minutes, the result is determined by “Golden Point” as set out in B4:28 of the Operational Rules. There will be no replay.

B7:29 Where the Clubs concerned are unable to agree the date, venue and kick off time for the Final the RFL shall decide, such decision will be final. The RFL may also require Clubs to agree such details prior to qualifying for the Grand Final and if they fail to agree may decide.


B7:30 Players suspended by the Operational Rules Tribunal, may only count one club fixture in a seven day period regardless of their registration status less they also have a midweek game (second game) in the same competition in which they were suspended.

B7:31 An overage player suspended by the Operational Rules Tribunal may not count a CPD Programme Reserve team less he was dismissed in that competition.


B7:32 The Board in its absolute discretion as it thinks fit shall determine any matter that may arise in connection with the Academy or Championships Player Development Programme for which no provision has been made within this Section B7 or when the provision in the Operational Rules other than Section B7 are not appropriate to age limited competitions.


B7:33 The purpose of these “Minimum Standards” is to protect the welfare of young players in the game and to ensure that their treatment is in line with the RFL Safeguarding Policy and Performance Pathway best practice. Clubs must meet these standards to be granted Academy Endorsement as set out in B7:1 above.


Clubs must operate to the RFL Safeguarding Policy including but not limited to having a trained Club Welfare Officer and DBS disclosures for relevant posts.


B7:34 A Club Official or Director must be appointed by each club to be responsible for its Academy/CPD Programme team(s) and the name of such person and any deputy must be notified to the RFL. This person or his named deputy should be in attendance at all games.

B7:35 All Academy & CPD Programme Directors, Managers, Coaches and Staff must be registered with the RFL as required from time to time and be conversant with and abide by the Operational Rules, Match Day Operations Manual, Medical Standards, Safeguarding Policy, Codes of Conducts, Minimum Standards, Operational Policies and Procedures as set out from time to time.

B7:36 All Academy/CPD Programme personnel must have a current DBS clearance issued through the RFL as set out in the RFL’s Safeguarding Policy (Section E3) and should be appointed by the club, according to the recruitment procedures detailed in the Safeguarding Policy and must be fully aware of the RFL’s Safeguarding Policy and act in accordance with that policy at all.

B7:37 The following Personnel must also be in post and must be qualified in accordance with the appropriate RFL Operational Rules (Section E Qualifications) Safeguarding Policy and/or such other polices as shall apply.

  1. Club Welfare Officer;
  2. Academy & CPDP Director
  3. Academy & CPD Team Managers
  4. Academy & CPD Team Head Coaches(an individual may only be Head Coach to one team);
  5. Academy & CPD Assistant Coaches;
  6. Medical Staff as set out in the Medical Standards.

Main Stadium (Curtain Raiser)
Secondary separate home and away dressing rooms for use that are, fully self-contained with:
- Six shower heads
- Massage table
- Heating & Ventilation
- Wash basin
- Toilets (adjacent or integral)
- Minimum of 17 places/pegs
- Floor in good condition
For the avoidance of doubt when an Academy/CPD fixture is being played at the main stadium as a standalone fixture, secondary dressing rooms are not required.

Alternative Grounds

A club wishing to use an alternative ground must seek RFL by submitting a Academy/CPDP Facility Standards Self Certification. The RFL may also cause the ground to be inspected, Approval is granted on annual basis and may be withdrawn if the self-assessment is found to be inaccurate or the condition of the ground changes.
- Ground should be enclosed to prevent the public access to the area
- Pitch to have all round perimeter fencing – minimum 3m from touch & dead ball lines
- Designated technical areas
- Covered dug outs for home and away teams to seat a minimum of six adjacent to the pitch and with direct access to it and sterile to the general public.
- Playing area:

Minimum 88m by 55m
Maximum 100m by 68m

Goal line to dead ball line: Minimum 6m - Maximum 11m

- Goal posts must have protectors around the bottom six feet
- A good playing surface marked out accordingly to RFL Laws of the Game.

Dressing Rooms
Teams should have the use of home & away dressing rooms on site, each room to be separate and fully self-contained with:
- Six shower heads
- Massage table
- Heating & Ventilation
- Wash basin
- Toilets (adjacent or integral)
- Minimum of 17 places/pegs
- Floor in good condition
When two or more matches are scheduled at the same venue separate dressing rooms for each team must be allocated.

Match Officials Dressing Room

Separate self-contained accommodation to include:
- Shower or bath
- Toilet
- Wash basin
- Heating
- Lockers/hanging space


Adequate parking for visiting team bus/buses and officials cars

Public Toilets

Adequate separate Ladies WCs and Gents WCs in a clean condition

Refreshment Facilities

There must be a clubhouse or lounge facility for use of players, match officials and visiting officials on site.

Medical Arrangements

Separate Medical room close to both dressing rooms and available to both teams
Ambulance access to ground


A suitable after match meal must be supplied to all players, team officials and match officials by the home club after all matches.
The home clubs should provide a match programme/team sheet for the spectators where practicable save where team details are given on the scoreboard.
When traveling to away matches outside of the clubs local area all playing personnel and those involved with the team should travel on the team bus.


For Clubs to be considered for entry in the following seasons U19s Super League Academy competition they must have 20 contracts for Players aged under 19 as of the 31st August prior to the season and who meet the Minimum Contract Value (MCV) registered with the RFL by the 31st October. As of 1st Dec 2012 the MCV is £3000pa whether from a Super League Club or not and these Players must be contracted until November of the following year to be considered.