Changes made to on field disciplinary for 2018

A number have changes have been made to on field disciplinary for the season ahead.

Following a review of the current system, the Disciplinary Review Group have had their recommendations approved by clubs and the RFL and several changes will be put into place ahead of the 2018 season.

The Disciplinary Review Group is comprised of Hull Kingston Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell, Wakefield Trinity chairman Michael Carter, Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton, former Hull FC football manager Motu Tony and RFL representatives.

The system was reviewed against best practice in other sport disciplinary proceedings and including consultation with stakeholders, including a survey on topics such as Match Review Panel and Operational Rules Tribunal sent to club owners, CEOs, coaches, players, media and supporters.

The changes for 2018 are as follows:

Early Guilty Plea replaced by Penalty Notice for cases graded A-C. Match Review Panel to decide grade and consult player’s disciplinary record to ascertain what sanction will be handed down:

No record showing two or more offences in last 24 months, including one in last 12 months; and no similar offence (as defined in the Sentencing Guidelines) at Grade C or above in last 24 months = penalty at lower end of range (for example – one match for Grade B)

Two or more offences in last 24 months, including at least one in last 12 months; or similar offence at Grade C or above in last 24 months = penalty at higher end of range (for example – two matches for Grade B)

Cases graded D-F, or where Match Review Panel deem it appropriate not to issue a Penalty Notice, will automatically be referred directly to the independent Operational Rules Tribunal

Players can challenge a Penalty Notice (A-C) – in which case the matter will be determined by the Operational Rules Tribunal. A refundable deposit of £500 for Super League players and £250 for all other players must be lodged when submitting a challenge. If challenge is successful, the deposit shall be returned. Challenges to a Penalty Notice can only be made on the following grounds:

Guilt; or

Improper Grading of the Offence by the Panel

Unsuccessful challenges will result in a one-match increase in sanction where grounds for challenge considered unreasonable. If player is found not guilty then no sanction will be handed out. A successful grading challenge will lead to a sanction that would have been imposed for the revised Grade.

What do you think of these changes? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. all offences should be punished the same irrespective of record. that’s what makes fans angry as one player gets banned and another gets to at for doing same thing.

  2. It does look as though they’re afraid of simply saying such and such an offense means this punishment. And as for £500 loss plus an increase in punishment that just appears to be a way of preventing appeals.

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