Section A1: Club Obligations / League Structure
CLUBS: ACCEPTANCE OF OPERATIONAL RULES
A1:1 Each Club which participates in Super League, the Championship or League 1, or in any other league or competition or any game under the jurisdiction of the RFL or organised by the RFL is deemed by acceptance of the invitation to be bound by the Operational Rules, the Rules and Regulations of any body of which the RFL is a member, the terms of any agreement entered into by the RFL and the Laws of the Game and accept the jurisdiction of the RFL. The Laws of the Game and the Operational Rules will be published on the RFL website. All Clubs competing in Competitions are deemed to have read and accepted the Rules as a condition of entry into each Competition.
Each Club agrees to be bound by and comply with all codes of conduct, regulations, rules and policies published by the RFL pursuant to these Operational Rules from to time including, but not limited to:
(a) the Anti-Doping Regulations;
(b) the Welfare Policy;
(c) the Safeguarding Policy;
(d) the Betting and Related Activity Code of Conduct;
(e)the Respect Policy and Tackle IT!;
(f) the Equity Statement;
(g) the Social and Non-Prescribed Prescription Drug Policy;
(h) the Medical Standards;
(i) the Blood Borne Diseases Regulations;
(j) the Super League, Championship and League 1 Codes of Conduct;
(k) the Disabled Spectators Code of Conduct;
(l) the Overseas Travel Code of Conduct.
A1:3 All Clubs which participate in Super League, the Championship or League 1 or in any other league or competition or any game under the jurisdiction of the RFL or organised by the RFL are required to act in accordance with all applicable laws. Each Club agrees that the RFL shall be entitled to take any action and/or make such orders as it considers appropriate where to do otherwise would knowingly allow a Club to breach any applicable laws even where such behaviour is not prohibited through a strict interpretation of these Operational Rules.
A1:4 All Clubs and Person Subject to the Operational Rules shall handle all personal data provided to it by the RFL in accordance with applicable data protection laws and any instructions provided by the RFL in relation to use of such data.
COMPETE IN COMPETITIONS / LIMITS ON OTHER MATCHES
(a) Every Club by becoming a member of the RFL agrees to compete in all competitions under the jurisdiction of the RFL or organised by the RFL in which it is eligible to compete.
(b) A Club shall not play a friendly or competitive match in Rugby League (i.e. any match other than a Cup Tie, a League Match, an Event or a Match in any competition approved by the Board) or take part in any other sport at any time without receiving the prior written approval of the Board. The Board's consent shall not be unreasonably withheld and the Board in reaching its decision shall pay due regard to the integrity of the respective competitions and the interests of the Game.
(c) No Club shall be allowed to play any match or allow its ground to be used for any match or purpose if in the opinion of the Board such act will be likely
A1:6 Each Club agrees to indemnify the RFL (together with its Members, officers, employees and contractors) from and against any and all costs, damages, losses, expenses and/or claims (including but not limited to claims for loss of profit or income) which may be made by any third party and which are a consequence whether directly or indirectly, of the fact that the Club has not complied with its obligations in these Operational Rules (whether wilfully, negligently or otherwise howsoever) and whether or not such loss was foreseeable by the RFL and/or the relevant Club at the time of the Club's agreement to be bound by these Operational Rules.
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
A1:7 See Articles of Association
(a) At the start of each Season there shall be 12 Clubs in the Super League, 12 Clubs in the Championship and such number of teams as determined, from time to time, by the RFL in League 1.
(b) During the Regular Season each Super League Club and each Championship Club shall play 23 fixtures. Each Club shall play each other Club in its league twice on a home and away basis and a further fixture as part of a ‘Magic’ or ‘Summer Bash’ weekend.
(c) At the end of the Regular Season the top 8 Super League Clubs shall then play in the ‘Super League Super 8s’ league. Each Club shall play each of the other 7 Clubs once with the 4 highest ranking Clubs at the end of the Regular Season having 4 home Matches and the 4 lowest ranking Clubs having 3 home Matches. Points accrued in the Regular Season shall be carried over to the Super 8s league.
(d) At the end of the 7 match play-off league the top 4 Clubs shall play in the Super League Play-Off Semi-Finals. The Club ranked 1st shall play the Club ranked 4th and the Club ranked 2nd shall play the Club ranked 3rd with the Clubs ranked 1st and 2nd having home advantage. The winners of those matches shall participate in the Super League Grand Final (at a venue determined by the RFL) to determine the Super League champions.
(e) Subject to the other provisions of the Operational Rules, all the Clubs that compete in the Super League Super 8s league shall start the following season in the Super League.
(f) At the end of the Regular Season the bottom 4 Super League Clubs and the top 4 Championship Clubs shall then play in the ‘Qualifiers’. Each Club shall play each of the other 7 Clubs once with the 2 Clubs which finished the Regular Season in 9th and 10th of the Super League and 1st and 2nd in the Championship having 4 home Matches and the other 4 Clubs having 3 home Matches. Points accrued in the Regular Season shall not be carried over to the Qualifiers.
(g) At the end of the Qualifiers, subject to the other provisions of the Operational Rules, the top 3 Clubs shall be promoted to the Super League for the following Season. Subject to the other provisions of the Operational Rules, the Clubs ranked 4 and 5 shall play against each other (with the Club ranked 4th having home advantage) with the winner of that Match also being promoted to the Super League for the following Season. The loser of that Match and the Clubs that finished the Qualifiers in 6th, 7th and 8th shall start the following Season in the Championship.
(h) At the end of the Regular Season the bottom 8 Championship Clubs shall then play in the Championship Shield. Each Club shall play each of the other 7 Clubs once with the 4 highest ranking Clubs at the end of the Regular Season having 4 home Matches and the 4 lowest ranking Clubs having 3 home Matches. Points accrued in the Regular Season shall be carried over to the Championship Shield.
(i) At the end of the Championship Shield league the top 4 Clubs shall play in the Championship Shield Semi-Finals. The Club ranked 1st shall play the Club ranked 4th and the Club ranked 2nd shall play the Club ranked 3rd with the Clubs ranked 1st and 2nd having home advantage. The winners of those matches shall participate in the Championship Shield Final (at a venue determined by the RFL) to determine the Championship Shield winner.
(j) At the end of the Championship Shield league the bottom 2 Clubs shall be automatically relegated to League 1 for the following Season. For the avoidance of doubt the Clubs finishing in 1st to 6th shall start the following Season in the Championship.
(k) The number of Clubs in League 1, the identity of such Clubs and the fixture format for League 1 for each Season shall be as notified to the relevant Clubs during the previous Season.
(l) At the end of the Regular Season, the Clubs finishing 1st and 2nd in League 1 shall play each other (with the Club ranked 1st having home advantage) and the winning team shall be promoted to the Championship for the following Season. The losing Club (from the 1st v 2nd match) and the Clubs ranked 3rd to 5th shall play in the League 1 Play-Off Semi-Finals. The loser of the 1st v 2nd match shall play the Club ranked 5th and the Club ranked 3rd shall play the Club ranked 4th with the Clubs with the higher league placing having home advantage. The winners of those matches shall participate in the League 1 Grand Final (at a venue determined by the RFL) and the
CLUB OBLIGATIONS AND LEAGUE STRUCTURE
Operational Rules – Section A1 – Membership Obligations – Draft November
winner of that match shall also be promoted to the Championship for the following Season.
(m) For the avoidance of doubt there shall be no automatic promotion between Tier 4 and Tier 3 (League 1); however the Board shall have absolute discretion to admit other clubs to Tier 3 as it considers appropriate (taking into account such factors as it considers appropriate).
All of the provisions above relating to promotion and relegation are subject to Section A2 (Minimum Standards) and to the extent that there is any conflict between the above provisions and Section A2, Section A2 shall take precedence.
CLUB NAME / LOGOS
(a) A Club shall not adopt a title which implies that it is representing, either wholly or in part, a country or county or town or any area or sponsor or commercial organisation nor shall it alter its name from that specified in the schedule unless, in either case, authorised to do so by the Board.
(b) A Club shall not adopt or use any logo which may, in the opinion of the Board, bring the game into disrepute. No Club shall change its logo during the Season and any Club intending to adopt any new logo shall submit the proposed logo to the RFL before 1 January in any year for approval and shall not use such logo until it has received written approval from the RFL of such logo.
In addition to complying with the Anti-Doping Regulations, each Club shall:
(a) follow such directions as the RFL shall give regarding providing education on the Anti-Doping Regulations to its Players and Officials and reporting on the same to the RFL;
(b) ensure that its Players and Officials are provided with information or updates as requested by the RFL in a timely manner:
(c) provide suitable facilities for the collection of samples at Matches and/or training sessions;
(d) ensure that the RFL has accurate, up-to-date addresses for its Players and Officials; and
(e) provide accurate and up-to-date information about the whereabouts of its Players and Officials to the RFL or UK Anti-Doping as requested from time to time.