Rugby League

On-Field Disciplinary

The decision on whether a player should be charged with On-Field Misconduct is made by the Match Review Panel (the “Panel”).

The Panel is made up of the Compliance Manager (who provides the administrative support to the Panel) and up to 4 side members drawn from people with appropriate expertise (such as former players, referees and coaches). The current members of the Match Review Panel are detailed below.

The Process

In relation to each round of Super League matches (or Challenge Cup matches involving Super League teams), each match is reviewed in full by a member of the Panel to identify incidents which should be considered by the Panel. These incidents are then considered by the Panel on the Monday morning following that Round and the Panel decide what action should be taken in relation to the relevant player(s).

In relation to each round of Championship, League 1, or Challenge Cup matches solely involving Championship or League 1 teams, or Academy matches, the Panel meet on the Thursday following the Round in question and consider any incidents that have been reported by Match Officials or otherwise brought to the attention of the Panel. There are only 2 side members in attendance for these Panel meetings. For the final week of the season and during the play-offs, all competitions are dealt with in accordance with the timetable usually in operation within Super League.

If a Club wishes to bring any incidents of alleged misconduct to the attention of the Panel they must notify the Compliance Manager by: (a) in the case of Super League Players, no later than 10.00am on the first working day after the incident; (b) in the case of Championship Players, no later than 12.00 noon on the Wednesday following the day on which the incident took place.

In relation to each incident the Match Review Panel consider, the Panel has the following options:

  • Charge the Player with On Field Misconduct (an “Offence”). In which case for cases graded A-D, a Penalty Notice will be issued, or for cases graded E-F (or in exceptional A-C grade cases) the matter will be referred to the Operational Rules Tribunal for determination.

The grades and normal suspension range for each grade are listed below:

GradeNormal Suspension Range
ANFA - Fine
BFine – 1 match
C1–2 matches
2-3 matches plus Fine
E3-5 matches plus Fine
F6+ or period suspension

  • Caution the Player – in which case, subject to the Player’s right of appeal to an Operational Rules Tribunal, the Caution will be placed on the Player’s record
  • Decide there is no case to answer (in which case the Panel may still send the Player a warning/advice letter)
  • Where a Player has been dismissed from the field of play, deem the Referee’s decision to send the player from the field of play sufficient punishment and place this finding on the Player’s record. Where an offence has been deemed Sending Off Sufficient, the Player shall have the right of appeal, such appeal to be submitted within 7 days.
  • Refer the matter to the Compliance Manager for further investigation.


The Match Review Panel and Tribunal shall impose fines on players who accept a Penalty Charge Notice at Grade A, B or D or are found guilty at hearings. The only exception is in the case of a successful Penalty Notice challenge at a Tribunal.  Fines are not and will not be issued instead of suspensions and will not be used in an exemplary manner. The fine structure is set out below: 

LevelFine - Match Review PanelFine - Tribunal
Championship Reserve/Academy£25£25
Super League Reserve/Academy£25£50
League One£40£75
Super League£250£500

In the event that Player is found guilty of multiple Offences, a fine should ordinarily be imposed for each Offence.

In the case of Players found guilty of a Grade E offence then the fine will be a 1.5 multiple of the amount listed. If a Player is found guilty of a Grade F offence, the fine imposed will be double the amount listed in the structure above.


In addition to any other sanction imposed by the Tribunal, where a Player is found guilty of Rule 15.1 (f) and such breach includes Unacceptable Behaviour and Language then the Tribunal must impose mandatory education on the Player provided that such offence is the Players first in such circumstances. For the avoidance of doubt such sanction of education shall not be issued instead of a fine and suspension but in addition to such other sanctions.

Operational Rules Tribunal Chairs

Operational Rules Tribunal Side Members

Operational Rules Tribunal Process

The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal shall consist of three tribunal members, including a chairperson, all of whom are currently qualified judges. The role of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal is to adjudicate upon and determine all matters of alleged On Field Misconduct which are referred to it by the Match Review Panel. The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal has the power to sanction, suspend, ban and/or fine any Player found guilty of On Field Misconduct and when adjudicating, will take into consideration any matter of relevance, and in particular the nature of the offence and, when determining any sanction, any previous disciplinary record. 

Super League Players whose conduct has been referred to the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal are dealt with at the next immediate meeting following the alleged offence, normally the Tuesday evening after the weekend round of Super League matches.  Other Players whose conduct is referred during the 7 days prior to any meeting are normally dealt with on the second Tuesday following the alleged offence save in the case of Matches in the last round of the Championship Regular Season, the League 1 Regular Season, the Academy Regular Season and all Play Off Matches when the case will usually be heard by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal on the Tuesday immediately following the alleged offence.

Suspensions and sanctions imposed by the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal are at the discretion of the Tribunal and shall be consistent with the On Field Sentencing Guidelines. The On Field Operational Rules Tribunal reaches decisions on any issue by a majority, and if the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal fails to reach a majority decision on any issue, the decision of the chairperson shall be final. The decision of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal is handed down verbally on the evening of the hearing, stating the reasons upon which it is based, with a subsequent detailed written decision being produced for the benefit of the Player, Club and the RFL.

The Player or the RFL may appeal any decision of the On Field Operational Rules Tribunal on limited grounds and within 7 days of the original decision. This process and the expedited appeal route involving appeals that need to be heard within 24 hours of the original decision are set out in further detail at Sections D2:62 – D2:77 of the Operational Rules.