Section D1: Offences, Penalties and Enquiries

MISCONDUCT – OFFENCES

D1:1 A Person subject to the Operational Rules shall be guilty of Misconduct if he/she/it:

  1. commits a breach of any of the Operational Rules; or
  2. engages in conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the Game or which is improper conduct; or
  3. is convicted of a criminal offence by any court of competent jurisdiction or, having been charged with any criminal offence in any jurisdiction and acquitted, has a civil judgement entered against him, her or it, on the basis of the same facts;
  4. fails, within any time allowed by these Operational Rules or otherwise allowed, to comply with any decision of the Council, the Board, the Operational Rules Tribunal, the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal, the Tribunal, the Compliance Manager, or any Committee appointed by the Council, or the Board or the Compliance Manager;
  5. commits any breach of the Super League, Championship or League 1 Salary Cap Regulations or the Super League or Championship Financial Sustainability Regulations;
  6. fails to satisfy or otherwise comply with any arbitral award or decision made pursuant to the Operational Rules.

In the case of Rule D1:1(c) above the Compliance Manager shall decide whether to proceed with a case of Misconduct or to conclude the sentence received is sufficient punishment in the circumstances. The Compliance Manager in his/her discretion may deal with the matter pursuant to the procedures set out in these Rules.

ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT

D1:2 If any Person subject to the Operational Rules reasonably believes that any other Person subject to the Operational Rules is guilty of Misconduct, he, she or it must immediately inform the Compliance Manager in writing setting out all relevant details of the alleged Misconduct.

COMPLIANCE MANAGER AND INVESTIGATORS

D1:3 The Compliance Manager, Compliance Investigator(s), and/or Head of Salary Cap and Registrations and Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall be appointed, and may be removed from office by, the Board. If the Compliance Manager, Compliance Investigator(s), Head of Salary Cap and Registrations or Salary Cap Investigator(s) is ill or otherwise unavailable, or if the Board cannot identify a suitable person who is willing to act the Board may appoint a person to act in his/her stead on a temporary basis, or make such other temporary arrangement as it thinks fit. At any time the Compliance Manager may direct that the Compliance Investigator(s) and Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall work together and/or instead of the other(s). References in this Section D1 to the Compliance Manager, Compliance Investigator(s) or Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall be read as referring to any such temporary replacement. The Compliance Manager, Compliance Investigator(s) and Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall not be Board members and shall each be an Independent Person. In the case of alleged breaches of the Salary Cap the Compliance Manager, the Compliance Investigator(s) and/or the Registrations and Head of Salary Cap and Registrations and/or the Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall act with regard to the Operational Rules set out in this Section D1 and the Salary Cap Regulations.

ROLE OF COMPLIANCE MANAGER, COMPLIANCE INVESTIGATOR(S) AND SALARY CAP INVESTIGATOR(S)

D1:4 Upon receipt of a written allegation of misconduct and/or upon his own decision, the Compliance Manager may inquire immediately into the facts and circumstances alleged or believed to constitute misconduct and/or the Compliance Manager may request that the Compliance Investigator(s) and/or Salary Cap Investigator(s) shall inquire into the facts and circumstances alleged or believed to constitute misconduct.

D1:5 Each person accused of misconduct and all Persons subject to the Operational Rules shall cooperate fully with the Compliance Manager and/or the Compliance Investigator(s) and/or Salary Cap Investigator(s) and/or Head of Salary Cap and Registrations in a timely manner. This shall include the provision of information and/or documentation either held by the Person subject to the Operational Rules or which they have the power to obtain. Each Person subject to the Operational Rules shall produce records, accounts, contracts, receipts and bills as requested but shall not be obliged to disclose any fact or document which would be privileged from production or disclosure in any civil proceedings in a court in England and Wales. No person shall provide false or misleading evidence.

D1:6 Any act or omission by any Club or Person Subject to the Operational Rules which prevents or hinders or has the intention of preventing or hindering any third party subject to the Operational Rules from cooperating fully in accordance with Clause D1:5, shall itself constitute Misconduct. It shall also be an offence for any Person Subject to the Operational Rules to harass or victimise or cause to be harassed or victimised any Person who has provided information to the Compliance Manager or to the RFL whether this is as part of an investigation or whether it is “whistleblowing.”

D1:7 Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Compliance Manager and/or Compliance Investigator(s) and/or Salary Cap Investigator(s) may investigate all matters or arrangements (whether of a financial nature or otherwise) between any of or any combination of the following:

  1. Clubs (save for Inter-club Disputes);
  2. other Members;
  3. Players;
  4. Licensed Agents;
  5. Club Officials;
  6. Match Officials;
  7. any person acting on behalf of any of the above.

D1:8 Following or during his investigations (at his reasonable discretion) and once he honestly and reasonably believes misconduct may have occurred, the Compliance Manager shall as soon as reasonable deliver to every person accused of Misconduct full written details of the allegation including, but not necessarily limited to:

  1. the identification of the relevant Operational Rule(s) and/or provision of the Code of Conduct under which the matter is being investigated, and where relevant the Operational Rule or Operational Rules alleged to have been infringed;
  2. the facts alleged to constitute such infringement, to the extent that the same are then known to the Compliance Manager.

BURDEN AND STANDARD OF PROOF

D1:9 The Compliance Manager shall have the burden of establishing that Misconduct has occurred. The standard of proof shall be whether the Compliance Manager has established that Misconduct has occurred to the reasonable satisfaction of the hearing body bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation which is being made. This standard of proof in all cases is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Where a Person subject to the Operational Rules wishes to rebut an allegation or charge of Misconduct or establish specified facts or circumstances, the standard of proof shall be by a balance of probability.

COMPLIANCE MANAGER TO DECIDE IF CASE TO ANSWER

D1:10 If, having investigated a Disciplinary Case or having received the Compliance Investigator’s or Salary Cap Investigator’s report(s) following his investigation of a Disciplinary Case, the Compliance Manager decides that there is a case to answer, he will refer the matter to an Operational Rules Tribunal Panel in the manner set out in Operational Rules Section D1:13 to D1:20 (inclusive) or recommend a sanction as set out in D1:11. In any event the Compliance Manager shall promptly inform the Parties and the Board of his decision.

COMPLIANCE MANAGER TO RECOMMEND SANCTION

D1:11 In cases where the Compliance Manager deems it appropriate he may himself determine what action or penalty he feels is appropriate in respect of the misconduct concerned and, if so, shall notify the Person concerned in writing of the penalty he recommends is imposed, provided that any such recommendation shall not prevent the Compliance Manager seeking a more severe penalty in any prosecution before the Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal. If within 14 days of such notice the Person concerned has not requested a hearing before the Operational Rules Tribunal, then such penalty shall be deemed to be accepted, and shall be binding on the Person concerned, and any right of appeal waived. Should any Person request a hearing within 14 days then the process shall be as set out below in relation to the Operational Rules Tribunal with an appeal to the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal as set out below. The penalties which the Compliance Manager is entitled to impose shall include fines, suspended fines, cautions and awards of legal or other costs, compensation to any person who is injured or has suffered loss or damage or any combination of the aforementioned but shall otherwise be determined from time to time by the Board. The Compliance Manager shall be free to disregard any scales of mandatory fines published by the Board as guidance.

OPERATIONAL RULES TRIBUNAL

D1:12 The Operational Rules Tribunal Panel shall be selected by the Board and will consist of Independent Persons unless the Board otherwise thinks fit. One member of the Board may sit on the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel if the Board thinks fit. The Board shall designate one or more members of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel as the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) and the Board may remove such person from office and replace him/her. If the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) is (are) ill or otherwise unavailable, the Board may appoint another member of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel to act in his/her stead on a temporary basis

REFERRAL TO THE OPERATIONAL RULES TRIBUNAL

D1:13 Where a matter has been referred to the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel by the Compliance Manager or notice of appeal is made under Rule D1:22, then, the Compliance Manager or Operational Rules Tribunal Panel shall notify the alleged offending Party and the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s), of the charge(s) brought and the nature of the allegation. Within 7 days of receipt of such notification the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member shall convene a meeting of an Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal who shall meet within 28 days or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter and shall notify the alleged offending Party of the date, time and venue of the hearing by giving at least 7 days written notice which may be waived by the party involved or may be waived at the discretion of a Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member where the matter to be heard involves the integrity of a competition which by its nature needs to be expedited to ensure that the competition can be completed in a timely manner. However should the alleged offending Party fail to attend the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal acting reasonably shall have the right to hear the matter in that Party’s absence. The Party to whom referral or appeal applies must provide details of any evidence or submissions or representations including witnesses intended to be brought before the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal, in writing, 7 days before the hearing or as otherwise specified by the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal.

D1:14 The hearing shall take place in accordance with such procedures as the Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal may think fit from time to time. Such rules of procedure shall be in addition to these Operational Rules but in the event of any conflict between any such rules and the Operational Rules, the Operational Rules shall prevail. The decision of the majority of the members of the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be final and binding (subject to the right of appeal set out below).

D1:15 The Compliance Manager shall be entitled to attend and prosecute at the meeting of the Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal. The Compliance Manager and any Person subject to the Operational Rules appearing before the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal may have legal representation and shall be entitled to present evidence and call witnesses (subject to the RFL policy on child witnesses as in force from time to time), expert witnesses and advisors. In addition, the Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be entitled to request the attendance of such solicitor or barrister and/or such expert witnesses or advisors and to require the attendance of any Person subject to the Operational Rules or any documents as it thinks fit in each case in order to assist with the hearing. The Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall have the power to adjourn a hearing if thought necessary in the interests of justice.

D1:16 Each Person subject to the Operational Rules shall be obliged to attend any hearing of the Operational Rules Tribunal as a witness if reasonably required to do so by the Compliance Manager or the alleged offending Party. However the Chairman of the Operational Rules Tribunal shall have the power to hear and decide on submissions from any witness as to why it is unreasonable for them to attend.

D1:17 The Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall have the power to impose sanctions pursuant to Rule D1:27. The Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be free to disregard any scales of mandatory fines published by the Board as guidance. Suspensions imposed by the Operational Rules Tribunal and Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall take effect from midnight on the day of the hearing unless the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal orders to the contrary.

D1:18 Any Person subject to the Operational Rules suspended or expelled shall, subject to the right of appeal below, not be allowed during the period of suspension or expulsion to participate in any way in the Game or in any Club or in the activities of Council unless the Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal directs otherwise.

D1:19 The Board and/or Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be entitled to publish in the media as it thinks fit reports of its inquiries, proceedings, acts and decisions whether the same shall or shall not reflect on the character or conduct of any Person Subject to the Operational Rules or any Representative or his/her Deputy and any such aforementioned party shall be deemed to have assented to such publication and each Person subject to the Operational Rules agrees to waive any rights it may have to sue the RFL and/or the Board and/or the Match Review Panel and/or the Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal (or members of any Tribunal) for any defamatory remarks contained within such publication except where such publication is made maliciously.

D1:20 Where a Person subject to the Operational Rules or seeking to become subject to the Operational Rules has been suspended or disqualified under the rules of any member, affiliate or honorary member of the RLIF or under the rules of any other National Governing Body of Sport that suspension shall be recognised and enforced by the RFL and its Members. This provision is subject however to the Person concerned’s right to appeal to the Board, who may, at their discretion, refer the matter to the Operational Rules Tribunal, to show why such suspension or disqualification shall not be enforced. The Board, or the Operational Rules Tribunal in the event the matter is referred to them, shall have absolute discretion as to whether or not to uphold and/or vary the suspension or disqualification.

REASONS

D1:21 The Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall within 14 days of adjudicating on any matter contained herein serve on the parties involved in the dispute and/or offence, a written report of the decision, the reasons for the decision and in the case of the Operational Rules Tribunal only, the final date for the submission of any appeal, such date not to be earlier than 15 days after the date of posting of the report.

APPEALS

D1:22

RIGHT OF APPEAL

The Compliance Manager and/or any Person against whom a penalty has been imposed pursuant to Section D1 of these Operational Rules may appeal against a decision of the Operational Rules Tribunal as follows:

  1. Notice of appeal shall be in writing and must be delivered to RLHQ addressed to the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) by 4pm on the date stated in the Operational Rules Tribunal's Report, or within 14 days of receipt of the reasoned decision, or as otherwise set out in these Operational Rules. The Notice shall specify the grounds for the appeal and any fresh evidence that the appellant is seeking to introduce. A Person appealing against a penalty imposed against them must also lodge a deposit of £500. If the material is sent by facsimile letter a hard copy together with the £500 deposit must be sent to RLHQ addressed to the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) by first class pre-paid post on the same day;
  2. within 7 days of receipt of the notice of appeal the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member shall convene a meeting of the Appeals Board consisting of three persons from the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel chosen by the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) and who shall meet within 28 days and shall notify the both the Compliance Manager and the Person relating to whom the decision has been made of the date, time and venue of the appeal hearing by giving at least 7 days' written notice. No person appointed to sit on the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall have taken part in any previous proceedings in relation to the matter and if the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) shall have taken part in previous proceedings in relation to the matter then the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall instead be chosen by another member of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel nominated by the Board;

D1:23 The Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal may conduct the hearing in such manner as it considers appropriate subject to such procedures set out above at D1:13 to D1:20 inclusive and provided that:

  1. the appeal will be by way of re-hearing;
  2. each party shall have an equal opportunity to be heard and to put its case in the presence of every other party;
  3. each party shall have an adequate and equal opportunity to know in advance the issues in the appeal and to have access to all material documents and information;
  4. new evidence will not usually be admitted unless it is clearly material and was not reasonably available to the party presenting it at the time of the hearing before the Operational Rules Tribunal;
  5. the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall have the power to adjourn a hearing if the Panel believes it necessary in the interests of justice.

D1:24 The Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall have the power, if it thinks fit, to affirm, reverse, amend or otherwise vary (by way of substitution of penalty or otherwise) the decision of the Operational Rules Tribunal and may determine the amount of costs to be paid to or by the Appellant;

D1:25 If an appeal by a Person against whom a decision has been made is successful any deposit they shall have paid shall be returned. Otherwise the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall determine whether the deposit should be forfeited or returned (in whole or in part) to the Appellant;

D1:26 The decision of the Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be final and shall be communicated to all parties affected by its decision within 48 hours. There shall be no further right of appeal.

SANCTIONS

D1:27

  1. Save for any breach of the Salary Cap Regulations, but otherwise without prejudice to the Operational Rules contained in this section, the Board shall have the power to specify that certain offences shall warrant the imposition of a mandatory fine up to such amount as it may from time to time publish, either within the Operational Rules, Codes of Conduct, or Off-Field Sentencing Guidelines. Changes to mandatory fines shall only apply to offences committed 28 days or more after the date of publication of such change.
  2. In addition to being entitled to fine any Person Subject to the Operational Rules guilty of misconduct, the Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall be entitled:
  3. i. to require that a Member close its ground (or part of its ground) either permanently or for a stated period;
  4. ii. to require that a Member play its games behind “closed doors”;
  5. iii. to order the payment of compensation to any Member or to the RFL or to any other person or body;
  6. iv. to ban a person from involvement in Matches or from grounds during the conduct of Matches or from involvement in the business of or the conduct of playing matters at any Member;
  7. v. to impose those penalties set out in Section D3 below;
  8. vi. to impose those penalties set out in the Salary Cap Regulations; and
  9. vii. in the case of Misconduct which impinges on the integrity of the competition to deduct competition points / expel a Club from a Cup Competition.

COSTS

D1:28 The Operational Rules Tribunal or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal (or any other sub-committee or appointed panel of any Tribunal) may make such order as it thinks fit in relation to the payment of the costs and expenses of any inquiry, hearing or dispute and each Person subject to the Operational Rules agrees to comply with such ruling in each case.

PAYMENT OF FINES/COSTS

D1:29 Unless directed otherwise, any fines or costs must be paid to the RFL no later than 28 days after the date upon which the imposition of the fine or the ascertainment of the costs was determined. Such fines and/or costs may be deducted by way of set off from any monies held by the RFL on behalf of a Person Subject to the Operational Rules or the Club they are associated with, any central distributions or other central payments and/or any monies owed by the RFL to the Person Subject to the Operational Rules or the Club they are associated with.

POWERS OVER MATTERS NOT SET OUT IN OPERATIONAL RULES

D1:30 Subject to the Memorandum and Articles of Association the Board and/or Operational Rules Tribunal and/or Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal shall also have the power to deal as they think fit with any Person subject to the Operational Rules in respect of misconduct and/or allegations of misconduct or other matters not otherwise specified and/or provided for in these Operational Rules in accordance with the above procedures.

INTER CLUB DISPUTES

If there is any dispute or disagreement as to whether a Case is an Inter club Case or a Disciplinary Case, then any of the Parties or the Board may refer that question to the Compliance Manager for his/her decision. The Compliance Manager shall give the Parties (and, where appropriate, the Board) the opportunity to make written submissions before making a decision. The decision of the Compliance Manager shall be final and binding.

D1:31 The Compliance Manager shall not (save as set out in Operational Rule D1:30) have any role in Inter-club Cases.

D1:32 Inter-club Cases shall be heard by 3 members of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel selected by the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s). Any Party to an Inter-club Case may, by written notice to the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s), request that a single member of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel is appointed to give a preliminary ruling on whether there is a "case to answer" in any Inter-club Case. If such a request is made and it is decided that there is "no case to answer" then the Dispute shall not be the subject of any further process. If it is decided that there is a "case to answer", it shall be heard by 3 members of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel as described above. The Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) shall be responsible for the fair conduct of the case and shall have the power to direct the procedure to be followed by the parties.

SUPPLEMENTARY

D1:33

INTER-CLUB CASES

The following shall apply to Inter-club Cases:

  1. the Party referring the Case shall set out the issues in writing to the Board who shall copy the document to each other Party and the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member. Any other Party shall have 28 days thereafter in which to set out in writing its response to such issues;
  2. the Senior Operational Rules Tribunal Panel Member(s) shall appoint a chairman and two other members of the Operational Rules Tribunal Panel upon expiry of the time for receipt of the response of the other party, or upon receipt of such response if earlier;
  3. at such hearing all Parties may have legal representation;
  4. the Operational Rules Tribunal shall hear representations from the parties, and shall thereafter act as conciliator and not as arbitrator in endeavouring to produce a negotiated solution to the Dispute;
  5. if and to the extent that the Operational Rules Tribunal is unsuccessful in resolving all issues in the Dispute through conciliation within 28 days of appointment the Operational Rules Tribunal may, if both members and all Parties agree, make a non-binding recommendation for settlement;
  6. if a recommendation is made it shall be set out in writing and shall become binding and a contract between the parties 28 days after its date unless the dispute is referred to arbitration under paragraph (g) below;
  7. if a conciliation fails to produce a full and final settlement; and
  8. i. no recommendation is made; or
  9. ii. a recommendation is made which any Party does not wish to accept,

then either party (in the case of (i) above) or such party (in the case of (ii) above) may refer the Dispute to arbitration as a Non-Disciplinary Arbitration Dispute under Operational Rules D1:34 to D1:41 (inclusive) below.

ARBITRATION

D1:34 All Members by virtue of such membership and anyone who participates in the Cup or any other competition organised by the RFL by virtue of such participation enters into an arbitration agreement in the terms of this Operational Rule, and such agreement shall continue following termination of membership or conclusion of the Cup or such competition in relation to disputes arising during the course of membership or of the Cup or such competition.

D1:35 In this Operational Rule "Arbitration Dispute" means any dispute which is either referred to conciliation by the Operational Rules Tribunal under Operational Rule D1:33 which has not resulted in a final and binding settlement under that Operational Rule ("a Non-Disciplinary Arbitration Dispute") or which the Parties concerned may agree, with the approval of the Board, at any time should be referred to arbitration.

D1:36 All Arbitration Disputes shall be referred to arbitration before a sole arbitrator ("the Arbitral Tribunal") to be agreed between the Parties or in default of agreement to be appointed by the President of the London Court of International Arbitration or the person to whom the said President or the said Court has from time to time delegated the power to make such appointments.

D1:37 The seat of the arbitration shall be in England and Wales, and the arbitration shall be held in such place in England & Wales as the parties may agree or the Arbitral Tribunal may direct. The language of the arbitration shall be English.

D1:38 The procedure adopted by the Arbitral Tribunal shall be such Arbitration Rules as are from time to time prescribed by the Board for the conduct of arbitrations under this Operational Rule, and in default of such Arbitration Rules, such procedure as the parties may agree or the Arbitral Tribunal may decide.

D1:39 The Arbitral Tribunal shall not have the power to award compound interest save in the case of fraud or breach of fiduciary duty.

D1:40 All documents and proceedings in any arbitration pursuant to the Operational Rules shall be confidential and all hearings shall be held in private, save to the extent necessary to enforce any award, to take confidential professional advice thereon or in connection therewith, or to comply with any requirement of any lawful authority. No public statement shall be made with regard to any arbitral proceedings save to the extent agreed between the parties or authorised by the Arbitral Tribunal.

D1:41 Any award made in any arbitration made pursuant to this clause shall be final and enforceable as a judgment and if and to the extent that is includes an award tha0074 one Party pay a sum of money to another party (in addition to any interest awarded by the Arbitral Tribunal in respect of any period prior to the date of the award) shall carry interest from the date of the award until the date of payment at the rate applicable to a judgment of the English court at the date of the award.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

D1:42 The provisions set out above shall not preclude the Parties to any case which is not a Disciplinary Case agreeing to engage in alternative means of resolving a dispute should all parties so agree. The process described herein shall be suspended while any alternative dispute resolution procedure is in progress.