Pro Game - Covid-19
Guidelines for professional Rugby League
The Super League, Championship, League 1, Reserves, Academy, Scholarship and Women’s Super League are managed under elite sport protocols.
The RFL has issued a range of protocols in relation to Covid which cover training, playing and the staging of matches.
All Clubs and Teams within Leagues have a nominated Covid Officer and Covid Medical Officer.
In developing the RFL specific protocols, the key guiding principles are player (and other staff) health and welfare; competition integrity and financial sustainability.
The protocols were developed (and continue to evolve) in conjunction with the Clinical Advisory Group, Covid Working Group and based upon the advice and guidance of the RFL’s Covid Medical Officer (Dr Gemma Phillips).
In relation to training and playing, the protocols seek to create a ‘bio secure’ environment. Key parts of this are:
- Mandatory education for all individuals
- Hygiene policies and facilities at training and match venues
- Club Risk assessments and mitigations at all venues
- Risk assessed and mitigated activity
- Social distancing for non-essential actions
- Daily wellbeing screens (including but not limited to testing)
In relation to matches, key principles are:
- Clubs complete Risk Assessment for all personnel entering the Red Zone (Whether home or away team)
- Maintaining a Red Zone at venues to minimise interaction between players/other essential staff and other match attendees
- Bio-Secure Red Zone Areas that are deep cleaned before and after usage
- Any non-essential personnel entering the Red Zone are Lateral Flow Tested
- Face coverings worn by players/essential staff indoors and where social distancing is not possible
- No sharing of water bottles, all players have individual bottles
- The ability to Social Distance in Shower Areas
- Social Distancing in dugouts and dressing rooms
- Medical Staff Level 2 PPE at all times
Any positive tests are managed in accordance with the RFL’s protocols and, where applicable, in conjunction with Public Health England. Where there are multiple cases within a team, the situation is considered by the Multiple Case Group who have a range of potential responses including, if appropriate, standing down a team for a period of time.
- Any positive test(s) must be reported to the RFL by the Covid Medical Officer as soon as the outcome is known (whether LFT or PCR)
- Requirement for Clubs to establish a timeline of symptoms and accurately trace, identify, and isolate any off-field Close Contacts of the positive case(s) (within 48-hours of symptom on-set or test) in line with the RFL Test & Trace protocols
- On-line forms used for reporting both positive tests and any identified Close Contacts
- Covid Officer and Covid Medical Officer are required to work through and submit a Positive Case Checklist providing as much details as possible surrounding the case(s) and actions taken
- Clubs must keep a “Close Contact” record of all High-Risk activity undertaken on each training day and log on an Increased Risk Exposure Matrix
- Where an Essential Staff Member has been involved in a match/played in a match in the 48-hour period prior to on-set of their symptoms/positive test an on-field review of the match footage is conducted by the RFL to identify any high-risk interactions thorough application of the Team Sport Risk Exposure Framework
The RFL continues to liaise with DCMS regarding Covid-19 and any impacts on Rugby League.