New guidelines for non-playing personnel entering the field of play during matches in the engage Super League and National Leagues are to be introduced next season.
The new regulations have been developed in consultation with all professional clubs over an extended period and they will be put into operation with immediate effect in 2007.
The new rules mean that all interchanges must now be made by players being informed that they are to be replaced by messages from the side line or as indicated by an illuminated interchange board. No personnel will be allowed to enter the field of play to inform a player that they are to be interchanged
The revised rules state that only a team’s Physiotherapist is allowed unlimited access on to the field of play in order to treat injured players whilst a match is in progress. To support this, a team’s Doctor is allowed to enter the field of play when they are medically required to do so.
Also physios are not allowed to pass on tactical messages to players
Significantly the rules also state that a club’s Head Trainer should never be on the field of play while play is in progress and is allowed to enter the field of play only after a try has been scored and when the referee calls time off due to an injured player requiring treatment.
The Head Trainer may go to the touchline in order to interchange a player but they may only do so in the presence of the Interchange Official.
In addition, Water Carriers are not allowed onto the field of play while play is in progress. They may only enter the field of play after a try has been awarded and when the referee calls time off due to an injured player requiring treatment.
Commenting on the new rules, the RFL’s Match Officials Director Stuart Cummings said:
“Following our consultation and research, we believe these new regulations are the correct way forward for the sport.
“They minimize the visual distraction and general disruption on the field of play for both players and spectators and – at the same time – allow us to maintain the appropriate medical and welfare safeguards.
Cummings added: “The health and safety of players will always remain paramount”.