RFL announces relaxation of restrictions around celebrations

Restrictions around celebrations have been eased, the Rugby Football League has announced.

Last year, the RFL made the rules that celebrations should be kept to a minimum amid the Covid pandemic as they aimed to prevent close contact.

Players have been fined for over-celebrating but the RFL has now announced that the rules will now be relaxed because of the low infection rates across the professional game for the last two months, so players will not be fined for low-key celebrations like high fives, fist bumps and elbow taps. They will still be fined for big celebrations like hugs and pile-ons.

An RFL spokesperson said: “The RFL’s Covid Working Group met on Monday, and there was a unanimous desire to recognise the changed landscape, and also the efforts of players and clubs so far in 2021.

“We have had minimal positive tests, and no postponements.

“A number of changes have been made to our Covid protocols in recent weeks to reflect the greater knowledge of the transmission of the virus – with the relatively low risk of outdoors transmission – as well as the easing of Covid restrictions more widely across society. It therefore feels the right time to relax slightly the restrictions on celebrations – and on that basis, it’s only fair to suspend the punishments that have been handed out for low-level breaches so far this season.

“The message we are sending to players and clubs is one of thanks and congratulations, but also the importance of continued vigilance and discipline, and the need to avoid any complacency. The easing of lockdown restrictions will lead to a greater risk of transmission in society – and our priority must be doing all we can to ensure that players are not made unavailable either by positive tests, or as close contacts through test and trace analysis.

“We’ll therefore be focusing on higher risk situations – hugs, pile-ons, and handshakes will remain forbidden, and the subject of possible compliance action, whereas high fives, fist bumps, and fleeting hand taps will no longer be followed up.”

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