Operational Rules

Section B7: Player Development Programmes


B7:1 The Player Development Programme means the RFL structure for the Game at age restricted and reserve levels within the professional game (currently being Academy Under 19s, Scholarship Under 16s and Super League, Championship and League 1 Reserve Grade).

B7:2 The aim of the Player Development Programme is to provide the Game’s outstanding young players with an opportunity to develop their talents and abilities in a professional environment through a modern Rugby League education and to organise for them highly disciplined and intense Matches appropriate to their needs within the Safeguarding Policy.

B7:3 The Operational Rules in this Section B7 apply to the 2015 Season. Each Club acknowledges and agrees that the Player Development Programme will significantly change for the 2016 Season and the RFL shall notify the Clubs of the rules that will apply for the 2016 Season prior to the start of that Season.

B7:4 For the avoidance of doubt, unless otherwise stated, all other applicable Operational Rules also apply to the Player Development Programme including, but not limited to, (i) all provisions which relate to Matches apply equally to matches played as part of the Player Development Programme; (ii) all provisions which relate to Players apply equally to players within the Player Development Programme and (iii) all Players and Officials taking part in a Player Development Programme are Persons Subject to the Operational Rules. To the extent that there is any conflict between the provisions of this Section B7 and any other Operational Rule, the provisions of this Section B7 shall take precedence.

B7:5 Save as set out in the Operational Rules, the management of the league competitions shall be vested entirely and exclusively in the RFL and the Board shall, in its absolute discretion, deal with all matters connected with or arising out of the competitions (which are not specifically dealt with under these Operational Rules).

B7:6 All Persons Subject to the Operational Rules agree that the only age-restricted and reserve team rugby league that may carried out by a Club is that expressly permitted by the RFL and each Club agrees that it shall not participate in any matches or organise any training or any other activities outside of this and no Person Subject to the Operational Rules shall be involved (whether in a playing or official capacity) in such matches, training or other activities. No Club shall allow any other organisation or person to use its facilities, personnel, branding or other resources for any such prohibited activity.


B7:7 Only Clubs which have been granted an ‘Endorsement’ in accordance with this Section B7 are permitted to be part of the Player Development Programme or participate in any of the Matches that form part of the Player Development Programme or run any team or squad at any age restricted level.

B7:8 The Board will produce an Application Timetable and the Requirements which will apply to Player Development Programme Endorsement. The Board, in its sole discretion, will decide whether to grant an Endorsement.

B7:9 Super League, and Championship Clubs may apply for an Endorsement to run an Academy Programme (which must include both an U19 Academy and an U16 Scholarship). Championship and League 1 Clubs may apply for an Endorsement to run a Reserve Programme.

B7:10 Without limiting the Board’s discretion pursuant to B7:8, to be granted an Endorsement a Club must demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of the RFL that the Club:

  1. Fulfils the aims of the Player Development Programme as set out above;
  2. Complies with all applicable Operational Rules;
  3. Meets the human resource and financial demands required by the RFL (as specified by the RFL from time to time) including but not limited to the following Personnel being in post and qualified in accordance with the appropriate RFL Operational Rules:
  4. Welfare Manager;
  5. Player Development Programme Director;
  6. Player Development Programme Team Managers;
  7. Player Development Programme Head Coaches (an individual may only be Head Coach to one team);
  8. Player Development Programme Assistant Coaches;
  9. Medical Staff as set out in the Medical Standards.

In addition, all such individuals must be registered with the RFL.

  1. Subject to Operational Rule B7:14, meets the Minimum Facility Standards as specified from time to time by the RFL;
  2. Fully supports and commits to player development within its own area and/or region; and
  3. Complies with the RFL Safeguarding Policy (including but not limited to having a trained Club Welfare Officer and DBS disclosures for relevant posts).

B7:11 The Board has the right to grant dispensations to the Application Timetable and the Requirements at its sole discretion.

B7:12 The Board reserves the right to refuse Endorsement to any Club who in the Board’s opinion who has failed to meet the Requirements in previous seasons or who has received Endorsement for a Season and failed to complete its commitments that Season.

B7:13 It is a condition of Endorsement that Clubs continue to meet the Requirements throughout the season. The RFL has the right to inspect and monitor a Club’s performance against the Requirements at any time.

The Board may withdraw Endorsement from any Club which is found to be failing to meet the Requirements. Endorsement may be withdrawn immediately or at the conclusion of the playing season. In addition to having its Endorsement withdrawn a Club which fails to meet the Requirements may also be charged with Misconduct under Section D1.


B7:14 Subject to the provisions of Section A2, each Club which runs a Player Development Programme team shall ensure that the ground at which the team plays complies with the applicable Facility Standards published by the RFL from time to time. Clubs shall complete any self-certification required by the RFL. For the avoidance of doubt all the provisions set out in Section A2 apply equally to the grounds used for Player Development Programme matches.

B7:15 On occasions where a Player Development Programme Match is played as a curtain raiser be it on the Club’s home ground or an alternative venue the ground must meet the “Minimum Standards” specified from time to time by the RFL for curtain raisers.


B7:16 All Players which participate in any Player Development Programme must be registered in accordance with the provisions of Section C of these Operational Rules.



Save where otherwise specified, the following provisions shall apply to all Player Development Programme Matches.

The RFL will specify the fixture list for each of the competitions (in the case of Under 16 Scholarship on dates agreed with the Community Board) prior to the start of the playing season. Clubs shall not play any matches outside this schedule without the specific written permission of the RFL.

B7:18 Each Club shall compete in all League fixtures in which it is due to play in accordance with the fixture list. If a Club fails to complete any of its fixtures for whatever reason the result of Matches played and/or un-played shall be determined by the Board and the Board shall have the right to alter the structure of the competition by such means as it thinks fit.

B7:19 The venue for all fixtures shall where reasonably practicable possible be the home ground of the first team.

B7:20 Save whether otherwise agreed or otherwise specified in these Rules, Matches shall be played at 2pm on a Saturday. Matches scheduled for a weekend may be brought forward to a Thursday or Friday evening (or played on the Sunday or Monday) if mutually agreed via the appropriate Fixture Amendment Form. Clubs are expected to give a minimum of 14 days’ notice to the other Club or the RFL of any proposed change to a scheduled fixture except in exceptional circumstances. On occasions where the Match Officials have already been appointed it is the responsibility of the home club to inform the appointees.

B7:21 Where reasonably practicable possible Academy Under 19 matches should be played as curtain raisers to club’s first team. . Where an Academy/CPD match is played as a curtain raiser to a First Team match, the home Club shall supply 25 tickets free of charge for the use of the away team player’s parents/guests.

B7:22 Where there is a dispute between Clubs or where otherwise necessary for the completion of the competition the RFL shall decide the venue, date and kick off time of any Match (and that decision shall be final).

B7:23 When traveling to away matches outside of the clubs local area all playing personnel and those involved with the team should travel on the team bus.

B7:24 Both home and away Clubs shall play in the colours of their First Team (but not necessarily the same design) as registered with the RFL prior to the start of the season. In addition to any other penalty imposed pursuant to Section D1, where a Match is not played due to a Club not having the required kit, that Club may be required to reimburse the other Club for all expenses incurred.

B7:25 When a Match is postponed for a valid reason or by mutual consent a new date must be agreed and confirmed to the RFL within 7 days of the postponement. Where Clubs are unable to agree the RFL will adjudicate.

B7:26 If a match is postponed for a reason deemed unsatisfactory, the defaulting club may be fined £250 in the first instance of that season, £500 in the second instance and for each subsequent instance, More than two occurrences may result in the club being considered to have failed to fulfil its Endorsement and it may be expelled from the Academy/CPD programme. In addition, in instances when a Match is postponed at short notice where the non-defaulting club has experienced a legitimate expense by the Match not going ahead the offending club shall meet that expense (subject to the non-defaulting Club using reasonable endeavours to minimise those expenses).

B7:27 When a match is postponed for an unsatisfactory reason the Board shall have the power to determine whether the Match should be rearranged or that the Match points be awarded to the non-defaulting Club. If a Club withdraws from or is expelled from any of the Player Development Programme competitions the Board shall decide whether to award competition points (and where appropriate points for and against), expunge results or reschedule fixtures.

Reasons considered unsatisfactory include:

  1. Inability to raise a team.
  2. Inability to provide a suitable ground.
  3. Social commitments of players and/or staff.
  4. First team commitments of players and/or staff.
  5. Failure to provide a Doctor and/or Physiotherapist

B7:28 The referee shall be the sole arbiter of time in all Player Development Programme Matches.

B7:29 A suitable after match meal must be supplied to all players, team officials and match officials by the home club after all matches.

B7:30 The home clubs should provide a match programme/team sheet for the spectators where practicable save where team details are given on the scoreboard.

B7:31 Home Clubs will be responsible for submitting results and other relevant details (scorers from both teams etc) to the Academy/CPD Programme Press Officer within 2 hours of the completion of the match by such means as requested from time to time.


B7:32 The Play-off Series format including the Grand Final will be determined by the RFL prior to the start of each season.

B7:33 The Grand Final shall be played on the ground used by the ‘home Club’s first team. If the Home Club cannot arrange this, the Match shall be played at the other finalist Club’s first team ground. If this is not possible the RFL shall determine which ground the Match is played on.

B7:34 When a Play-off Series Match results in a draw at the end of 80 minutes, the result is determined by “Golden Point” as set out in B4:28 of the Operational Rules. There will be no replay.

B7:35 Where the Clubs concerned are unable to agree the date, and kick off time for the Final the RFL shall decide, such decision will be final. The RFL may also require Clubs to agree such details prior to qualifying for the Grand Final and if they fail to agree may decide.


B7:36 U16’s squads must be on the website of the RFL by 10.00am of the Thursday preceding any game taking place on Saturday. Should the game be taking place on a Thursday, then the squad will need to be in place for 10.00am on the Wednesday.

B7:37 The duration of Under 16 Scholarship Matches shall be 70 minutes (35 minutes per half).