Super League, Championship and League One clubs will have an extra month to sign and register players this season following changes to the competition structure for 2019.
The deadline for signing players for the season, which had been brought forward to July in recent years to coincide with the end of the regular season, and the start of the Super Eights and the Qualifiers, will now revert to Friday 9th August.
At that stage there will be only four rounds of the regular season remaining in Betfred Championship and League One, and five in the Betfred Super League (whereas last season, when the deadline was July 27, there were still seven rounds remaining in all three competitions).
The cut-off for dual registration will follow on Monday August 12. After that point, players will only be eligible to move between two clubs if they have already made four appearances on dual registration. If not, they would be able to play either for their parent club, or to move on loan for the rest of the season to their dual-registration club – but not both.
The third change, and the one that will take effect first, is the signing deadline for the Coral Challenge Cup and the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.
For both competitions, that deadline will be Friday July 19 – eight days before the Coral Challenge Cup semi finals, and nine before the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi finals.
(The regulations surrounding players being “Cup-Tied” remain the same – a player can only play for one club in each Cup competition).
Sam Allen, the RFL’s Head of Professional Operations, explained: “The change in the structure of the three professional divisions this season provided an opportunity for us to work with the clubs on a new schedule which we feel will work better for clubs, players and the game as a whole.
“It’s simpler to explain and hopefully to understand, as the same signings deadlines will apply to all competitions, and the rules around dual registration have also been simplified.
“Having the cut-off dates for new signings and dual registration qualification later in the season will give clubs greater flexibility to manage their squads – while remaining sufficiently in advance of the end of the season to avoid undermining competition integrity.”