Section D2: Disciplinary - On Field
For the purposes of these Operational Rules the term "Super League Player" shall mean any player playing in a Super League Club's first team in any competition, and the term "Other Player" shall mean any player other than a Super League Player (“Other Players” and “Super League Players” together “Players”).
The term "On-field" shall include conduct off the field connected with a Match (whether in the dug-out, tunnel, dressing room or otherwise connected with Matches) whether by a Player, coach or other person.
ON FIELD OPERATIONAL RULES TRIBUNAL
On-field discipline shall be dealt with by an On Field Operational Rules Tribunal (the "On Field Operational Rules Tribunal") consisting of Independent Persons chosen from the Operational Rules Tribunal by the Board which shall also nominate such number of Chairmen as it thinks fit from time to time and one of these plus two other members of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall normally sit at meetings. Any two members shall form a quorum. The Board may from time to time add to or remove from the body of persons comprising the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
Whilst the Compliance Manager has the power to deal with cases of Misconduct under Section D1 of the Operational Rules, no Person subject to the Operational Rules shall be subject to a determination or decision more than once in relation to the same incident or allegation unless new evidence is available which was not available at the time of the first determination or decision. The Compliance Manager shall not investigate or determine any matter which the Match Review Panel / On Field Operational Rules Tribunal is already investigating or vice versa. For the avoidance of doubt either the Compliance Manager or the Match Review Panel / On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be able to refer an incident or allegation brought to its attention to the other party.
ROLE & POWERS OF ON FIELD OPERATIONAL RULES TRIBUNAL
D2:2 The role of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be to adjudicate upon all matters of On-field discipline relating to a Person Subject to the Operational Rules referred to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal by the Match Review Panel referred to below and also all cases in which a Player has been referred to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal by the Match Review Panel following a dismissal or "sin-bin" in or relating to Matches and games played in the Reserve or Academy competitions including but not limited to friendly matches arranged by Clubs who have membership of any of the above mentioned organisations.
D2:3 The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall have power to suspend, ban from the touchline and/or fine any Player or other Person Subject to the Operational Rules found guilty of misconduct and shall when adjudicating take into consideration any matter of relevance and in particular the nature of the offence and the individual’s playing and previous disciplinary record. It is not to be regarded as a pre-requisite for the exercise of this power that the Player or the Person Subject to the Operational Rules shall actually have been dismissed during a Match.
ROLE & POWERS OF MATCH REVIEW PANEL
The Board shall appoint a panel of individuals (which may include one member of either of the Board or the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel who shall not also be allowed to sit on the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal in relation to such matters) to form a Match Review Panel. The Compliance Manager will chair the Match Review Panel and will have a vote which in the case of a deadlock shall be the casting vote.
In all competitions the Match Review Panel shall consider all matters of misconduct whether reported by referees and/or touch judges or not and any complaints and allegations received by the RFL that any Player or other person has infringed the Laws of the Game which are received by the RFL prior to the relevant Match Review Panel meeting as set out in (a) and (b) below.
Such Match Review Panel shall review the alleged offence and have the power to refer that alleged offence to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal (who shall adjudicate upon all such incidents in accordance with the procedures laid down in this Section D2) or to dismiss the alleged offence in which case the Player(s) or other person(s) shall have no further case to answer.
The Match Review Panel shall also have the power to issue a Player or other Person Subject to the Operational Rules with an Official Caution as set out below. A caution will be forwarded to the Player or other Person Subject to the Operational Rules in a letter which will be sent to his Club. The letter will set out the Law of the Game the Panel consider has been breached, the detail of the alleged Offence, the evidence the Panel has based its decision on and details on how the Panel’s decision may be appealed to an Operational Rules Tribunal. Any appeal must be made within 7 days of the issue of the caution and shall be heard in accordance with D2:40 below. An Official Caution shall be recorded on the Player’s disciplinary record.
Clubs wishing to bring incidents of alleged misconduct to the attention of the Match Review Panel must do so in writing so as to reach the Compliance Manager:
- in the case of Super League Players by no later than 10.00 am on the first working day after the incident; or
- in the case of Other Players no later than 12.00 noon on the Wednesday following the day on which the incident took place.
ROLE & POWERS OF COMPLIANCE MANAGER
D2:5 Where the Match Review Panel decide that a Player or other Person Subject to the Operational Rules has a case to answer (the “Charged Individual”) and refer the allegation to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal the Compliance Manager shall notify the Charged Individual and their Club which Law of the Game they are charged with breaching and the nature of the charge against them.
D2:6 The Compliance Manager shall be entitled to send any notification or other correspondence which pursuant to the Operational Rules he is required to send to a Charged Individual to them at the address of his Club unless they has notified the Compliance Manager, in writing, to the contrary and provided an alternative address for service. A Charged Individual shall be deemed to receive any such notification or other correspondence on the date and at the time it is received by the Club.
D2:7 The Compliance Manager shall be entitled to attend and prosecute at the meeting of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal and any subsequent Appeal Committee meeting.
ON FIELD OPERATIONAL RULES TRIBUNAL MEETINGS
D2:8 The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall normally meet (if needed) at RLHQ each Tuesday, but may at its discretion meet at an alternative time and place.
Super League Players whose conduct has been referred by the Match Review Panel to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal will be dealt with at the next immediate meeting following the dismissal/alleged offence, unless the dismissal/alleged offence occurs the day before a meeting, in which case it will be dealt with at the subsequent meeting or on the date set by the Operational Rules Tribunal. However, other Players or other Person Subject to the Operational Rules dismissed or whose conduct is referred during the seven days prior to any meeting shall normally be dealt with on the second Tuesday following the dismissal/alleged offence save in the case of matches in the Grand Final Series when the case will usually be heard at the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting immediately following the dismissal or alleged offence. Should a Player elect to make an Early Guilty Plea in accordance with the On Field Compliance Procedures and Sentencing Guidelines, the conduct will be dealt with by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal without the need for a meeting.
Meetings which would otherwise fall on a Tuesday following a bank holiday Monday shall instead be held on the next day (ie: Wednesday). The Board shall have the sole right in its absolute discretion to bring forward or put back a hearing to a day or time of its choosing in exceptional circumstances.
D2:10 Clubs shall be responsible for informing Charged Individuals registered with or representing that Club of the times, subject matter and venues of meetings of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal in which that Charged Individual is/are involved.
D2:11 The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall have power to refer any case to a subsequent meeting without prejudice to its powers to deal with the player or referred matter concerned.
D2:12 If an official's report does not reach the RLHQ marked "Compliance Manager" so as to arrive in time to be placed before the appropriate Match Review Panel meeting, this does not deprive the Match Review Panel of the power to deal with the reported person(s) or referred matter at a subsequent meeting.
EVIDENCE & APPEARANCES
The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal and the Charged Individual shall receive a copy of all reports received by the Match Review Panel from Match Officials and a copy of the charge letter sent by the Compliance Manager.
D2:14 The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be entitled to call for a matter to be investigated by a Compliance Investigator who shall forward a report to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal, the Compliance Manager and the Charged Individual.
D2:15 Any letter sent by a Charged Individual in his own defence shall be read to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal provided it is received by the Board (c/o the Operations Department) prior to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting.
D2:16 DVD recordings of all Matches shall be despatched by the home Club as follows (unless directed otherwise by the RFL): (i) where the home Club is a Super League Club, by courier or in person to RLHQ to arrive no later than midnight on the Sunday evening of the weekend on which the Match is played; and (ii) where the home Club is a Championship Club, to RLHQ by guaranteed next day delivery sent on the first working day following the match in question, and in all cases as set out in Section B1 of these Rules. Any home Club not forwarding a DVD of a Match in accordance with this paragraph or, where requested, not despatching a videotape or DVD in time to reach the appropriate hearing, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £1,000.
D2:17 Any additional DVD footage which is available may be put forward in evidence provided that the Charged Individual has notified the Board (c/o the Operations Department) that he intends to do so by 12.00 noon on the day of the relevant On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting. The Charged Individual shall use his best endeavours to provide a copy of such footage to the Operations Department prior to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting.
D2:18 If requested the Charged Individual must inform the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal of the source of any recording to be offered in evidence and forward to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting a statement signed by a responsible officer of the company, organisation or club which originated the recording attesting that the recording is a complete, authentic, unedited and unabridged version of the incident leading to the alleged offence. Recordings of other incidents in the game or other games will not be admitted as evidence.
D2:19 Alternatively, or in addition to writing to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal, a Charged Individual may appear personally before the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal (or may nominate someone to attend on his behalf) or may make representations by telephone, provided he notifies the Board (c/o the Operations Department) in writing or by telephone of his intention to do so not less than 24 hours before the meeting concerned (and provided that in the case of representations by telephone he provides a number on which he can be contacted for the period of time stipulated by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal).
D2:20 A Charged Individual may be accompanied by a legal representative and/or such other representatives as are relevant and necessary provided he notifies the Board (c/o the Operations Department) that he intends to have such representative(s) and the identity of such representative(s) by 12.00 noon on the day of the relevant On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting.
D2:21 A Charged Individual who appears before the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal, may have his nominee or his representatives speak on his behalf.
D2:22 If a Charged Individual informs the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal that he wishes to appear before the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal or make telephone representations but then finds that he is unable to do so or if any nominee or representative fails to attend, his case shall not be referred to a subsequent meeting unless the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal is satisfied that it was due to some good and sufficient reason which is acceptable to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
D2:23 The Board shall advise the Compliance Manager of any notifications received from the Charged Individual.
D2:24 Either the Compliance Manager and/or the Charged Individual may request that the Match Official submitting a report on a Charged Individual's misconduct attend the meeting provided that such request is received by the Board (c/o the Operations Department) by 12.00 noon on the day of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting and written reasons for such request are provided. The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal will decide whether the Match Official should attend.
D2:25 Either the Compliance Manager and/or the Charged Individual may call independent witnesses provided that he notifies the Board (c/o the Operations Department) of his intention to do so (and the identity of such witnesses) by 12.00 noon on the day of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal meeting. The non-attendance of witnesses shall not entitle the Compliance Manager or the Charged Individual to have the meeting deferred unless the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal agrees to such request.
D2:26 The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall have the right to require further evidence from any Person Subject to the Operational Rules and shall be entitled to call witnesses. In any case all witnesses are subject to the RFL policy on child witnesses as in force from time to time.
SUSPENSIONS & FINES
D2:27 Suspensions imposed by the Operational Rules Tribunal shall be consistent with the Sentencing Guidelines as published from time to time.
D2:28 A Charged Individual’s suspension takes effect from the day following the meeting at which his suspension was imposed except in the case of period or permanent suspensions which shall take effect immediately. The following games shall count towards a Player's suspension provided that he is otherwise eligible to play in the games concerned and provided that these Rules do not otherwise exclude the Player from counting these matches:
- Representative games in which the suspended Player has been selected to play or be part of the squad. For this purpose, "squad" means those Players selected to be on duty for a particular game or to be part of the official playing party for a match, tournament and tour;
- All games in competitions in which Clubs are expected to field their first teams with the exception of Nines or other similar tournaments in which case the RFL will publish the disciplinary rules and their interpretation in the context of this Operational Rule in advance of the competition;
- One Academy team game played over a weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) during which the player's Club has no first team match (except see D2:29(c) below); and
- Two pre-season (warm up) games which have been sanctioned by the RFL; but
- In the case of an amateur Academy player, Academy games at the level (first team or Reserves or Under 20s or Academy U18s) at which the misconduct occurred, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal, only.
D2:29 The following games shall not count towards a Player's suspension:
- Academy team matches played mid-week (Monday to Thursday inclusive). When a Club, as a matter of policy and with the sanction of the relevant Committee plays its Academy team matches in mid-week, and that Club has no first team match played on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday following that mid-week date, then the Academy team match played in mid-week will count towards a Player's suspension;
- Those games which are classed by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal as friendly, pre season or warm up games other than the two games included pursuant to D2:28 (d) above;
- Games played in limited age competitions unless the Player is eligible to play by age (i.e. is not an overage player) or unless the relevant misconduct occurred at that level of competition or unless otherwise agreed in writing by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
The table below shows which matches at which level count towards the suspension. This is produced for guidance only and in the event of a conflict the rules laid out in D2:28 and D2:29 take precedence.
|Level offence occurred at?||Age eligible for 19s/20s?||First Team||Academy||Scholarship|
(1) - First team matches take priority when an academy match is played on the same weekend as a first team match E.g. if First team games are played on Sunday, and Academy matches played on Friday, then the player should miss two first team matches unless there is an Academy match played on a weekend when there is no first team match
D2:30 If a Player is suspended for a stated number of Matches or is given a period or permanent suspension, the suspended player shall not play in any game or enter the pitch, bench or surrounding area in any capacity until his suspension has been terminated unless approval for him to do so is given in writing by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal. If a Person Subject to the Operational Rules is suspended from the touchline he shall not enter the pitch, bench or surrounding area in any capacity including as a Player.
D2:31 If a Player is suspended from playing in a match, he shall not play in any other match on the same day but no more than one match in any one day shall count towards a player's suspension. Only matches played with the same Club or in the same division as that in which the misconduct occurred shall count towards any suspension unless otherwise agreed in writing by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal (such agreement not to be unreasonably withheld). For the avoidance of doubt, players with “Dual Registration” may only count matches played with the same Club or in the same division as that in which the misconduct occurred towards any suspension and may only count one match each Weekend, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
D2:32 A Player who plays in a Match whilst still under suspension without the prior approval of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be guilty of misconduct and shall be dealt with as the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal may think fit, which may include reference to the Compliance Manager to be dealt with under Section D1.
D2:33 A Club which selects a Player to play in a Match whilst that Player is still under suspension or which allows any person who is subject to a touchline ban to enter the pitch, bench or surrounding area in any capacity shall be liable to be fined in respect of each offence, the amount of the fine to be determined by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
D2:34 If a Player is fined and/or ordered to pay costs he shall not play in any Match until the fine and/or costs are paid unless given written approval to do so by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal. It is the responsibility of the Player to pay his fine and/or costs to the RFL. A Player who plays before paying his fine and/or costs may be punished as the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal may think fit, which may include reference to the Compliance Manager to be dealt with under Section D1.
D2:35 A Club which selects a Player who has not paid his fine and/or costs shall be liable to be fined in respect of each offence, the amount of the fine to be determined by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal.
All Rules applying to suspension from playing shall equally apply to a touchline ban.
Where a player has been warned, suspended, fined or disqualified for on field discipline under the rules or bye-laws of any member, affiliate or honorary member of the RLIF/RLEF or by an RLIF/RLEF Disciplinary Commitee, such warning, suspension, fine or disqualification shall be recognised and enforced by the RFL and its Members.
D2:37 In accordance with the RLIF/RLEF Regulations, a player may be suspended from domestic competition by a ruling of the RLIF/RLEF Disciplinary Committee.
SUSPENSIONS BY OTHER ORGANISATIONS
D2:38 Where a player has been suspended for on field discipline by the Operation Rules Tribunal, any other competent RFL member body or by the Governing Body of any other sport, such suspension shall be recognised and enforced by the RFL and its members, until that suspension has been served or until the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal determines the matter and consents to the player playing. If the player wishes the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal to consider the matter he must submit a written request.
D2:39 If a referee temporarily dismisses a Player from the field of play, he shall record the Player's name at the time, and within twenty-four hours of the match in the case of Super League Players and within 48 hours of the match in the case of Other Players, he shall send a report to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal at RLHQ marked "Dismissal", and shall provide copies to the player and his Club. This report will be recorded on the Player's playing record.
D2:40 The Compliance Manager as a prosecutor and/or a Charged Individual who has been suspended and/or fined or otherwise dealt with by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be entitled to appeal to the On Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal. Such Committee shall be drawn from the Operational Rules Tribunal members selected by the Board (but shall not include anyone involved in the original hearing) three members of which shall normally hear and determine the said appeal. Any two members shall form a quorum.
D2:41 Any appeal shall be submitted in writing, stating the grounds on which the appeal is made, and signed by the Compliance Manager or the player concerned. The notice of appeal must set out any fresh evidence which the Compliance Manager or Charged Individual seeks to introduce and attach copies of any fresh documentary evidence which the Compliance Manager or player seeks to adduce.
D2:42 Any appeal shall be addressed to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal at RLHQ and must be received within seven days of the hearing which imposed the Charged Individual's suspension, fine or other decision of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal. Any appeal by a Charged Individual must also be accompanied by a deposit of £200, which (or any part of it) may be forfeited or returned at the discretion of the On Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal. In addition, the On Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal may, upon hearing an appeal, make such order for the payment of costs as it thinks fit.
D2:43 All appeals should be heard on the earliest practicable day after receipt but no Charged Individual under suspension by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall be permitted to play in any Match (or otherwise act contrary to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal decision) until his appeal has been disposed of. Any Charged Individual who wishes his appeal to be heard within twenty-four hours of a suspension or fine being imposed shall notify the Disciplinary Secretary by telephone no later than 11.00 am on the morning following his original hearing. However, the On Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall not be obliged to meet if impractical. Both the Compliance Manager and the Charged Individual may be accompanied by a legal representative.
D2:44 There shall be only two grounds for appeal: (a) the finding of guilt, (b) severity of sentence. The appeal shall be by way of a rehearing and the Appeals Committee shall have power to confirm, reduce, increase or quash the sentence previously imposed by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal or make such other order as it thinks fit. No fresh evidence shall be presented to the On Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal without its leave. Leave shall only be given if the evidence is both relevant and credible and if it was not available at the time of the original disciplinary hearing. Ordinarily leave will only be given for fresh evidence if is set out and attached to the notice of appeal.
D2:45 The Board and/or Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be entitled to publish in the media as it thinks fit reports of its inquiries, proceedings, acts and decisions whether the same shall or shall not reflect on the character or conduct of any Person Subject to the Operational Rules or any Representative or his/her Deputy and any such aforementioned party shall be deemed to have assented to such publication and each Person subject to the Operational Rules agrees to waive any rights it may have to sue the RFL and/or the Board and/or Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal (or members of any Tribunal) for any defamatory remarks contained within such publication except where such publication is made maliciously.