Operational Rules

Section E17: RFL Social and non-prescribed presciption drug policy

The RFL has adopted a Social & Non Prescribed Prescription (NPP) Drug Policy to meet a number of objectives:

-         To prevent players from causing long or short term damage to their health/mental well-being through misuse of illegal or non-prescribed substances

-         To ensure that players can be offered appropriate treatment before misuse and/or addiction jeopardises their career

-         To protect other players who may be put at risk by players who train or play under the influence of social or NPP drugs

-         To protect the reputation and integrity of the game

The most effective way to meet these objectives is to have an integrated approach to education, deterrence and rehabilitation by adopting a RFL Social & NPP Drug Policy for Super League with three interlinked strands:

-         Education Programme

-         Testing Programme

-         Rehabilitation, welfare &/or disciplinary procedures

1. Education Programme

As part of the Welfare programme the RFL already provides relevant workshops for all young professionals at the age of 16 and again at 18 at the Professional Player Induction Programme days.  These workshops will continue and a further workshop will be delivered to all Super League first team squads specifically outlining this policy to support the Sporting Chance workshop which has already been delivered to all Super League first team squads.

2. Testing Programme

A centrally funded testing programme carried out by the RFL with results shared with the Club Doctor and Player Welfare Manager.

Clubs have the option to run more screens at their own cost with the provisos that all screens are booked by the RFL and carried out by the RFL’s contracted company with all results coming to the RFL and being dealt with in line with the Policy.

3. Rehabilitation, Welfare and/or Disciplinary Procedures

The same policy applies across all Super League clubs as follows:


Where a player approaches the RFL or an appropriate member of club staff (PWM, HOY, medical staff, coaching staff) and self-declares that he has been using a Social or NPP Drug prior to screening being carried out then the process described under First Violation will be followed save that it will not count as a First Violation.

First Violation

Following a first violation for Social Drugs or NPPD the players will be required to attend an Initial Case Review with the RFL and his Club Doctor and/or Player Welfare Manager.  Following the Review the Player will be required to attend an Assessment with a representative of the RFL’s Counselling & Addiction Service (Sporting Chance).  Following the Assessment the player will be required to attend such counselling and/or drug treatment programme as the RFL’s Counselling and Addiction Service recommends.  Subject to the player agreeing to attend the assessment and engaging with the counselling/treatment programme there will be no further action.

The Player will be subject to a targeted testing programme for such period of time as the RFL thinks fit.

Second Violation

Following a second violation for Social Drugs in addition to review and assessment clubs will be able to take such internal disciplinary action as they consider necessary including dismissal and/or fines (subject to the provisions and procedures of the Standard Players Contract or the Operational Rules as appropriate) or agree to continue the process set out under the First Violation.

In the case of a second violation for NPPD the process set out in under the First Violation will continue, however clubs may take disciplinary action including a fine and written warning but not including dismissal.

Third Violation

For Social Drugs the process will be as set out for the Second Violation.

In the case of a third violation for NPPD the club will be able to take disciplinary action including a fine and written or, depending on previous action for the Second Violation, a final written warning but not including dismissal.

Subsequent Violations

For any subsequent violations the club may take disciplinary action and/or dismiss (subject to the provisions and procedures set out in the Standard Players Contract or the Operational Rules as appropriate).

Notes:  A NPPD drug is defined as a prescription drug for which the player cannot provide evidence of a prescription.  For the purposes of this policy Benzodiazepines and Tramadol are considered to be NPPDs, not social drugs.

In order to determine the NPPD finding the Club Doctor may be consulted.  In cases where the drug has been prescribed the CMO will review the prescription with the Club Doctor to determine the rationale for the prescription.

Where a player tests positive for a “social” drug in competition i.e. an Anti-Doping Rule Violation he will still be eligible for the rehabilitation programme set out above although the RFL’s Anti-Doping Rules will apply to the sanction.

Where a player tests positive for a substance which is prohibited In Competition the RFL will inform UKAD as a matter of policy though UKAD would only take the matter further if there was evidence the player had used a stimulant in competition or where trafficking was involved.