RFL to increase punishment on clubs for Covid postponements

The RFL plan to impose greater penalties on clubs who fail to fulfil matches due to Covid in the 2022 season, forcing them to forfeit games.

Writing to all clubs in Super League, Championship and League 1, the governing body have set out their intentions for dealing with disruptions caused by the virus this season.

Super League has been heavily impacted by postponements since its return in August 2020, and the lower divisions likewise in 2021, with clubs able to postpone matches if they had seven or more players unavailable due to having Covid or being forced to isolate.

As a result, the leagues have been determined by points percentage since the start of the pandemic, though that is set to change this year with a return to determining final positions on the basis of points won.

In order to encourage clubs to fulfil fixtures when possible, the RFL intend to rule league matches not fulfilled due to Covid as forfeited, awarding a 48-0 win to the opposition, in contrast to the 24-0 scoreline previously.

Cup ties would also be forfeited, under changes which still need to be ratified by the RFL Board.

A comment from the RFL to clubs said: “Clubs in Betfred Super League, Championship and League 1 were advised in late 2021, after relevant regulatory meetings, of the intention to introduce a revised framework for 2022 in case of inability to fulfil fixtures, recognising the changing Covid-19 landscape.

“That remains the intention, although as with the situation regarding scrums, it will remain under review through January before the start of the league season.”