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Posted by RLPA

March 01, 2019

Statement – Player Sanctions

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has responded to the sanctions handed down to several players today.

Chief Executive Officer Ian Prendergast said the RLPA is disappointed that player behaviour is again the focal point of attention and recognises that it is causing damage to the game.

Prendergast also stated that that they will discuss the sanctions with the players involved and their representatives over the coming days.

“We agree with Todd Greenberg’s comments that these incidents need to be put into context,” Mr Prendergast said. “The reality is that they relate to a very small percentage of the playing group.

“However, players are as disappointed as anyone with the number of incidents that have occurred recently and the pressure that this has placed the game under.

“We understand that the game needs to take a stance and that players need to be held accountable for their actions, but we must also ensure that each individual is treated fairly, and on a case-by-case basis.

“Players have engaged their own legal support on these matters, so we will follow-up with them and their representatives over the coming days to discuss the sanctions and what, if any, assistance the player needs from the RLPA.

“Importantly, we will also work with the players and Clubs to ensure they receive the appropriate wellbeing support.”

Prendergast reiterated the position of the RLPA in response to the proposed ‘no-fault’ policy on player behaviour yesterday.

“We disagree with the policy announced yesterday and we are not supportive of players being stood down indefinitely when defending charges before the courts,” Mr Prendergast said.

“Unless the game can rely on objective evidence in taking action, we believe that the criminal process needs to be respected.

“Practically, if players were to step away from the game for a period of time to focus on the criminal process, then we would be supportive of this approach.

“However, this requires the stakeholders to work more closely together throughout these matters and for the players to own the decision rather than having a policy imposed on them.

“We, therefore, remain supportive of the original policy and will continue to support our members and their legal representatives to explore any options available to them.”  

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