WHEELCHAIR RUGBY LEAGUE

7th March 2021, 11:55 | rules

Betfred Super League and Challenge Cup 2021 | Regulatory Update

Betfred Super League and Challenge Cup 2021 | Regulatory Update

Placings on the Betfred Super League table will again be determined by Win Points Percentage in 2021, to allow for the possibility of postponements as a result of Covid-19.

Clubs will be required to have played a minimum of 70% of their scheduled fixtures to qualify for the Top Six Play-Offs in September (18 matches out of 25) - unless they have earned a position in the top six through league points despite having played fewer than 18 matches.

The regulations surrounding postponements have been broadly carried forward from the 2020 season, with clubs permitted to withdraw from a fixture if they have seven or more of their top 25 players unavailable either because of a positive Covid-19 test or following test and trace analysis – or if they are prevented from playing or travelling to play as a result of governmental restrictions.

The fixture will only be rearranged if both clubs have the same available match slot (details in notes, below).

Win Points Percentage will be calculated as follows: the number of league points of a Club divided by the number of matches played by the Club, multiplied by 50. (for further explanation, including Points Scored Percentage, see notes below)

If four or more clubs have not played the minimum match requirement (70% of scheduled fixtures), the RFL Board will have discretion to determine an alternative minimum figure.

The RFL Board have also approved changes to the permitted movement between clubs during the 2021 season, again in response to Covid-19.

At this time Dual Registration will not be permitted, but the minimum length of a loan period between clubs has been halved from four weeks to two – with strict criteria regarding testing procedures (see below).

Players will also be permitted to move between teams at the same club (eg Academy to First Team); and from professional environments to international environments.

Each of the above will be subject to Lateral Flow Testing prior to entering the new environment and repeat Lateral Flow Testing where necessary (in addition to the wider requirements under the Covid Protocols).

Again, at this time, the only permitted movement between the Community game and professional clubs will be new signings, and scholarship players.

Finally, the Out of Contract date requiring clubs to advise players in the last year of their contracts of their intention with regard to contract offers will be put back from April 30 to May 31, to reflect the later start of the season – although players will still be able to speak to other clubs from May 1, as previously.

 

 

Notes:

 

Betfred Challenge Cup and Play-Offs.

 

If a club is unable to fulfil a tie in the first two rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup, it will be awarded to their opponents (because of limited time between the rounds). If a club is unable to fulfil a tie from the Third or Fourth Round because seven or more players are unavailable as a result of Covid-19, the tie will be rearranged, taking precedence over league fixtures – in accordance with the Operational Rules.

 

The framework applying to the Semi Finals and Final, and Betfred Super League Play-Off matches, will be considered nearer the time.

 

 

Fulfilment of Matches 

 

(a)            A Club may determine that it is unable to fulfil a Match where 7 or more of its Top 25 paid Players are unavailable to play as a result of: 

 

  1.    i. having tested positive for Covid-19 and being required to isolate or still undergoing the Covid-19 return to train protocol; or 
  2.   ii.  having being required to isolate as a result of being deemed to be a ‘close contact’ with another individual who has tested positive for Covid-19 as a result of NHS Test and Trace or an ‘increased risk contact’ under the RFL’s Test and Trace Protocol or as otherwise agreed or directed by the RFL (including where, the RFL has directed that an entire Squad has to isolate or not attend any Rugby League training or matches due to an outbreak). Reasonable evidence of each of the above to be provided to the RFL; or 
  3.   iii. being prevented to play or travel to play as a result of governmental restrictions (whether players are so prevented to be determined by the RFL).

 

(b)            For the avoidance of doubt a Club may elect to play a Match as originally scheduled even though it has 7 or more Players unavailable as set out above.

 

(c)            Players who are unavailable to play as a result of any other reason, including injury (including where an injury dispensation is in place) and/or other illness and/or as a result of any compliance sanction (including any 14 day stand down for breaching Covid-19 Protocols) shall not count towards the number of unavailable players. 

 

(d)            A Player shall be deemed to be unavailable where any Covid isolation period ends within 2 days of the day of the Match (i.e. if the Match is on Friday, a Player whose isolation period ends on either the Wednesday or Thursday will be unavailable) or as otherwise determined by the RFL where the whole or the majority of the team has been isolated.

 

Additional Match Slots

 

Any Challenge Cup round (other than the Final) where both Clubs have been knocked out of the Cup (provided that any such rearranged Match shall not be played on the same day as any televised Challenge Cup fixture);

The Monday following the Challenge Cup Final (save for the Clubs involved in the Final);

In the case of Super League Clubs, midweek slots where both Clubs have at least 7 days between Matches (e.g. both scheduled to play on Fridays in each week) save that, in the case of matches involved Catalans Dragons, reasonable notice shall be required of any such midweek match;

Any other date agreed between the 2 Clubs;

And any other date directed by the RFL.

 

 

Inability to fulfil (other than player unavailability)

 

Where a Club is unable to fulfil a Match due to player availability (other than in the circumstances set out above), the RFL Board shall order that the Club unable to fulfil the Match shall forfeit the Match and the points awarded to its opponent (with a deemed score of 24 – 0 to the opponent).  In the case of the Club forfeiting the Match, the Match shall not count towards the number of Matches required to qualify for the Play Offs.

 

Points Scored Percentage

 

Where Clubs have an equal Win Points Percentage their relative positions shall be determined by Points Scored Percentage. The Points Scored Percentage is calculated by dividing the number of points scored by a Club by the number of points it concedes and multiplying by 100.  

 

Player Movement

 

Players can move from professional environments to international environments;

Players can move between teams at a professional club (e.g. Academy to First Team);

Players can move between professional clubs on loan (but not dual registration) NB – see detail set out re: reduced loan period below.

 

Each of the above will be subject to Lateral Flow Testing prior to entering the new environment and repeat Lateral Flow Testing where necessary (in addition to the wider requirements under the Covid Protocols).  

 

Reduced Minimum Loan Period. 

To reflect the removal of Dual Registration, the minimum length of a loan is now reduced to 14 days (from 28 days).  The rationale for the minimum loan period is to avoid a player transferring to a club for a particular match (i.e. to avoid abuse).  All other rules relating to Loans remain the same.