RFL confirm rule changes

The RFL have confirmed rule changes ahead of the start of the 2020 season.

Some have already been announced, like the introduction of Golden Point Extra Time in the Championship and League One.

Also confirmed is the reduction of the shot clock. Teams will now have 30 seconds for a dropout and 25 seconds for a scrum.

Furthermore, there have been changes to the squad declaration rule. This will see sides lose an interchange if they make a change to their squad without notifying the RFL. Also, teams can now declare a squad of up to 21 players.

There has also been a changing in the words of how play-the-ball’s are policed. The new definition states the attacker to “maintain balance and control and make a genuine attempt to make contact on the ball with the foot”.

The governing body has also changed the definition for the role of defenders in play-the-balls.

It says: “No tackler should make an adjustment on the tackle or leave hands or body in the play-the-ball area after the tackle is complete. Referees should act on any interference once the tackle has been called.”

“Tacklers who ‘clamp’ the ball and keep their hands/arm on the ball when the ball carrier is standing up should be penalised”.

Finally, striking will be added to the list of automatic sin bin offences. Video referee protocols will also be available for fans to see.

Dave Rotheram, Interim Chief-On-Filed Officer at the RFL, said: “We start every season with the aim of ensuring the game is safe, entertaining and fair. In the first few rounds of 2019, it was widely agreed that gamesmanship at the play-the-ball was causing much angst amongst players, coaches and spectators.

“After consulting with Head Coaches mid-season (2019), they and the match officials worked well to tidy up the ruck.

“This revised policy will hopefully ensure that we start 2020 with fewer grey areas – that is why we have waited until after the pre-season meeting to inform spectators and the media of the law interpretations that will be applied in 2020.

“Coaches and players are represented on the Laws Committee, as well as a number of distinguished former players who are now in administrative roles, and we thank them all for their contribution to the discussions.

“We hope that publishing the On-Field Policy and Video Referee Protocols for 2020 on the RFL’s digital channels, as well as a Fans Guide to the Video Referee, will be welcomed by supporters and the media.”

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