Clubs to be told they will forfeit unfulfilled fixtures in 2022

The RFL is set to inform clubs that they will be ordered to forfeit matches in the event of Covid-19 outbreaks in 2022 under new rules being prepared by the governing body.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:08 pm
PLAY ON: Clubs will be ordered to forfeit matches in the event of Covid outbreaks in 2022 under new rules being prepared by the Rugby Football League. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

All clubs in the three professional divisions have received notice that failure to fulfil a fixture in 2022 will result in the match being awarded to the opposition with a score of 48-0.

The changes are not yet ratified by the RFL board but the introduction of the rule comes after an agreement from the RFL that final league positions should no longer be determined by points percentage, as they have been for the past two seasons.

The points percentage system was introduced late in the prolonged 2020 Super League season, with the governing body accepting that all clubs may not be able to fulfil their fixtures because of Covid-19 complications.

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The system was retained in the top flight and extended to the Championship and League One last year. Clubs across all three divisions were able to apply for a cancellation if they had seven or more players unavailable due to testing positive for Covid-19 or if they had to isolate after coming into contact with someone who had contracted the virus.

Toulouse, who beat Featherstone Rovers in the Championship Grand Final, played just 14 of their scheduled 22 matches on their way to winning promotion.

A statement from the RFL 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.”