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British universities & Colleges Sport

Rugby League

 *Regulations subject to change; currently being updated for 2018-19 season*

 RUL i In the event that these regulations contradict the BUCS general regulations these sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.

RUL ii In the event that these regulations contradict those of the national or international governing body these sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.

RUL ii.i The Men’s Rugby League British University College Sport (BUCS) competition shall be conducted under the Laws of the Rugby Football League (RFL). 

 RUL iii The minimum number of players required for the game to start will be 9



RUL 1.1 Each institute, participating in the Men’s Rugby League BUCS competition agrees to observe the Community Game Operational Rules which includes the RFL’s Anti-Doping Rules, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Rules, Safeguarding Policy, Diversity and Anti-Racism Policies, Respect Policy and any other rules and policies that may from time to time be adopted by the RFL through the RFL Board and shall ensure that each of their members, employees, officials, volunteers, spectators and similar shall observe such rules and policies and shall make it a condition of employment or engagement or of participation in any rugby league competition that each such members, employees, officials, volunteers, spectators or similar shall observe such rules and policies.


RFL Operational Rules can be found here


RUL 1.2 All BUCS Leagues sit within Tier five of the RFL competition structure




RUL 2.1 Subscription for entry in to the competition shall be reviewed annually and application into the BUCS Men’s Rugby League must be submitted before the deadline provided by BUCS. All institutes that apply for membership must be an associated member of the RFL. Any institute which applies for membership to participate in the Men’s Rugby League must follow the BUCS New Member Institute guidelines. The RFL reserve the right upon written request to review an application submitted for special case participation.


RUL 2.2 Any team participating in the Men’s Rugby League BUCS competitions shall as a minimum requirement be affiliated to the RFL. The RFL annual affiliation fee must be paid by 1st November each year.  Failure by any institute to pay its annual affiliation fee may result in temporarily suspension of all Rugby League activity. On submission of all relevant paperwork and payment of fee’s each institute will be covered by the RFL Public Liability and Personal Accident policy for a period of 12 months.




RUL 3.1 Only first teams are eligible for promotion to Premier Leagues


RUL 3.1.1 Play Offs: The highest finishing first team (s) from the tier one leagues shall take part in a three way play off against the lowest ranked team in the relevant Premier division (South East 1A, Western 1A and Premier South) and (Northern 1A, Midlands 1A and Premier North). The winner of each play-off will then be eligible for promotion into the Premier divisions. BUCS and the RFL reserve the right to make a decision on the final structures of the premier division’s based on the geographical location of those teams eligible to compete at that level.


RUL 3.1.2 Should a team finish lowest in a Premier League also concede a walkover, that team shall not be eligible to take part in play-offs and shall therefore be automatically relegated.


RUL 3.1.3 Should a team(s) other than the lowest finishing team be relegated then the lowest finishing team may not be required to take part in a play-off or be relegated. This scenario may also impact on promotion from tier one.


RUL 3.1.4 Teams may opt out of taking part in play-offs by adhering to guidelines published with play-off information.


RUL 3.1.5 Once the winners of the play-offs are known a decision will be made by BUCS and the RFL’s UCRL Board as to which team goes to Premier North and South, depending on geographical location and suitability.


RUL 3.2 The Knock out competitions will consist of a National Championship, Trophy, and Conference Cup competition.


RUL 3.2.1 All Premier teams to the Championship. The top two teams in each Premier League will be seeded and will receive a BYE in the first round of the Championship. All Tier one teams will compete in the Trophy. Tier two teams will compete in the Shield competition.


RUL 3.3 All knock out rounds will take place at the home of the first drawn side with the exception of BUCS Championship Finals which will take place at a venue determined by BUCS in consultation with the UCRL board.




The UCRL adopts the RFL’s policy regarding Safeguarding Children.




RUL 5.1.1All BUCS eligibility regulations shall be recognised and adhered to.


RUL 5.1.2 A player shall be registered by the team by completing the RFL official player registration form.


RUL 5.1.3 All player registrations in respect of the BUCS competitions shall be directed and processed centrally by the RFL. Failure to register 13 players with the RFL prior to the deadline provided will result in that teams Rugby League fixtures being temporarily suspended, and a walkover being enforced.


RUL 5.2 Number of Players


RUL 5.2.1 There is no restriction on the maximum number of players permitted to register; however thirteen is the minimum number per team.  Player registrations must be submitted one week prior to your first scheduled fixture.


RUL 5.2.2 Teams may register new players on the actual match day provided that the registration form is duly completed in accordance with standardised regulations and is initialed by the appointed Match Official and together with post match documentation released immediately after the match to the RFL Competition Officer.






RUL 5.2.3 In all Premier League fixtures and any play off/knockout fixtures the amount of replacements per team is four. In all Tier One and Two league fixtures, teams may use as many substitutes as they wish providing both teams are in agreement 24 hours in advance. If teams are in dispute then they should revert to four substitutes. All substitutes are rolling, with an unlimited number of interchanges.




RUL 6.1 At the start of each season teams must register the following personnel with the RFL Competitions Officer.


RUL 6.1.1Essential  a. Central point of contact b. Designated Match day contact c. Committee Details d. Head Coach (RFL UKCC Level 2 or the Teaching Equivalent)


Recommended  a. Assistant Coach (RFL UKCC Level 2 or the Teaching Equivalent) b. Accredited first aider  c. RFL Accredited Touchline Manager




RUL 7.1 Any amendments to the original fixture list must be reported immediately to the RFL Competition Officer ( ) by the home team. Fixture amendments must be agreed in accordance with BUCS fixture regulations.


RUL 7.2 Any team desiring to arrange a friendly must seek permission from the RFL Competition Officer No friendly fixtures shall be arranged on a League fixture date without prior approval of the RFL Competition Officer. 


RUL 7.3 Any team failing to fulfil a fixture will be eligible to pay reasonable expenses to the non-offending team, including the referee’s full fee and expenses, in accordance to BUCS regulation - Late Cancellation of Matches.


RUL 7.4 If a club running two or more teams is unable to raise a team on any particular day, then the first team fixture must be played.




RUL 8.1.1 All Match Officials will be appointed by the RFL.  It is the responsibility of the home team the Monday prior a Wednesday fixture, to liaise with both its opponents and Match Official regarding team colours, kick off times and ground directions. In the event of the Match Official not receiving communication the Home team will be deemed to have forfeited the match in accordance to BUCS regulations and the relevant points deduction shall be enforced.


RUL 8.1.2 The home team is responsible for ensuring payment is made directly to the Match Official within 30 minutes of the final whistle being blown.


RUL 8.1.3 All games shall unless there is mutual agreement between competing teams to the contrary, be organised and staged on Wednesday afternoons with a kick off time scheduled for 2.00pm.


RUL 8.1.4 Each team is responsible for the behaviour of its players, committee and spectators. Notices should be displayed warning everyone regarding the use of foul and abusive language and/or abusive behaviour.  The warning notices should indicate that fines will be imposed. 



RUL 8.1.5 Each team should appoint a Touchline/Match Day Manager whose responsibility lies in the control and monitoring of spectators for the smooth running of the day and to ensure that Match Officials are escorted to and from their dressing rooms.


RUL 8.1.6 Unqualified Touch Judges are only to indicate touch/touch in goal, and kicks at goal from penalties/conversion attempts.


RUL 8.1.7 Unqualified Touch Judges cannot indicate knock-ons and forward passes: have no jurisdiction over foul play; cannot enter the field of play, other than to judge goal kicks; are at all times subject to the authority of the referee who may over rule and may also dispense with their services if he/she considers they are acting in a partisan manner.


RUL 8.1.8 If a club provides a qualified Touch Judge, bearing accreditation, that Touch Judge has full Touch Judge powers and responsibility, i.e. he/she will be used as a qualified official.  This applies even if there is only one qualified Touch Judge present.


RUL 8.2 Match Balls: In compliance with the Laws of the Game size five balls must be used in all matches and shall be submitted to and approved by the match official before the commencement of the match.


RUL 8.3 Match Duration


RUL 8.3.1 The duration of each match shall be measured by the Match Official and shall be 80 minutes played in two equal halves with an interval of ten minutes.


RUL 8.3.2 Ties in all cup and play off matches: The “Golden Point” ruling will come into play, first team to score points of any kind, will be declared the winners. Teams are to toss a coin at the start of the “Golden Point” Extra time period to determine who kicks off & who receives.


RUL 8.3.3 In the event of a colour clash the visiting team must wear an alternative strip. 


RUL 8.4 Team Sheet


RUL 8.4.1Official RFL team sheets must be completed correctly before the commencement of matches and shall be signed by a recognised official from each team and the Match Official.


RUL 8.4.2 Completed team sheets should include the full forename and surname (no initials) in capital letters, of all participants and must be sent by the Match Official to the RFL Competitions Officer. 


RUL 8.4.3 It is the responsibility of the Match Official to ensure that the completed team sheet is submitted to the RFL Competitions Officer within 24 hours following the completion of the game.


RUL 8.5 Reporting Results


RUL 8.5.1 The home team, in consultation with the Match Official and designated officer from the opposition, must agree the result immediately on completion of the game and report it to the RFL Competition Officer no later than 10am on the first working day following the fixture.


RUL 8.5.2 All postponements must be notified to the RFL Competitions Officer




RUL 8.5.3 If on arrival the Match Official deems the ground is not fit for play, and in their opinion there is no chance of it being so before the scheduled kick off, then that decision must be communicated immediately to the visiting Team and the Competition’s Officer.




RUL 9.1 In additional to the BUCS disciplinary regulations and processes the RFL is responsible for all on-field disciplinary issues and reserves the right to enforce sanctions in line with the RFL Sanctioning Guidelines which can be found here




RUL 9.2.1 A RFL disciplinary panel is in place to deal with all discipline matters arising.  The disciplinary panel shall have the full power to expel, suspend and/or fine any team, player, official or other person found guilty of misconduct and/or breach of the rules and to order them to meet any costs incurred.


RUL 9.2.2 A written report of a Match Official on the misconduct of any team, player or official must be sent via email to the RFL Competition Officer with a copy to the offending team for receipt inside three days from the conclusion of the game – intervening Bank Holidays excluded.


RUL 9.2.3 Reports of brawling – defined as three or more players involved - should via email be sent by the Match Official, for receipt within three days of a game’s conclusion, to the RFL Competition Officer. Separate copies of the report must be lodged by the Match Official with the teams concerned.


RUL 9.2.4 Any team which does not receive from the Match Official within three days a report outlining a dismissal or brawl having occurred should contact the RFL Competition Officer immediately. The failure of a team to receive a written report will not prevent action being dealt by the relevant discipline committee.


RUL 9.2.5 A reported team, player, official or any other person may, to defend an allegation of misconduct, send a letter for receipt by the RFL Competition Officer within ten days of the date of the match. The team or such persons may in their own defence request a personal appearance and/or bring witnesses to the hearing, provided that they notify the RFL Competition Officer within ten days of the alleged offence and send with it a deposit of £20.00 payable to the “RFL” The deposit shall be refunded at the hearing, provided that the appellant or their designated representative attends in person.


RUL 9.2.6 DVD evidence shall be an accepted method through which to defend the alleged actions that have been reported to the committee by a Match Official.  All DVD’s must be submitted within ten days of the match.  These must be unedited and show the game from start to finish.


RUL 9.2.7 Team secretaries or their deputies, pursuant to the hearing having not received a verdict after five days, should contact the RFL Competition Officer regarding the result.


RUL 9.2.8 Should a case of alleged assault by a player, team official or spectator be lodged it will be reported to the RFL Competition Officer by a Match Official.  The Match Official will then be instructed to make himself available to the disciplinary committee, for the purposes of interview, due notice of which shall be given in writing. A Match Official shall in such circumstances be entitled to claim reasonable travel expenses.





RUL 9.2.9 A player’s suspension shall begin on the first Wednesday following communication of the decision by the discipline panel unless it is a six match ban in which case the suspension becomes operational with immediate effect.


RUL 9.2.10 All RFL organised competition games, provided that they were arranged prior to the player’s offence may be counted towards his list of suspended games.


RUL 9.2.11 A suspended player is not permitted to play in any other game of rugby league until his suspension is served.  Any player or team violating this rule will be fined not less than £100 and the offending player shall be suspended for a further six matches. In the event of a game having being won by a team fielding a player under suspension then the competition points gained shall be forfeited automatically. The Management Group, should it deem appropriate, reserves the right to apply other sanctions which may include a team’s suspension or expulsion from the competition.


RUL 9.2.12 If a player has been deemed ineligible to play in any RFL competitions by the national governing body, this would include BUCS competitions.


RUL 9.2.13 All fines, payable to the RFL must be settled within 28 days and must be forwarded to the RFL Competition Officer.  Failure to meet this obligation shall result in the fine being doubled automatically.  If a further seven days elapse without receipt of payment then the team’s fixtures will be suspended.




RUL 9.3.1All appeals against disciplinary sanctions imposed by the UCRL are to be dealt with by an independent RFL appointed panel.


RUL 9.3.2 Teams who have the right to appeal may do so within 14 days of a decision made.  A £40.00 fee, payable to the “RFL”, should be submitted together with an accompanying letter outlining the reason why the appeal is sought. This must be forwarded to the Competitions Officer.


RUL 9.3.4 An appeal by a team may be based solely on the following grounds: a) the finding of guilt or b) the severity of sentence imposed.


RUL 9.3.5 No member of the Management Group actively involved in a decision taken at the initial hearing other than the RFL Competition Officer - who has no voting rights - shall be permitted to adjudicate on matters which will be the subject of appeal.


RUL 9.3.6 Adjudication by the Appeals Panel precludes the right of individual players or their teams towards seeking a further representation.

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