Covid-19 in sport: RFL delays decision on return of scrums in rugby league for 2022 | Rugby League News

RFL Board of Trustees is granting time for dual vaccination of multiple players against Covid-19 and assessment of the impact of the Omicron variant; The final decision on the return of scrums should be made at the end of January

Last updated: 23/12/21 12:02


The RFL is delaying a final decision on the return of scrums for 2022

The final decision on the return of the scrum for the 2022 rugby league season has been postponed to the end of January as the RFL board grants more time to increase vaccination rates against Covid-19 and assess the impact of the Omicron variant. .

Earlier this month, the governing body’s board had backed the RFL’s Law Committee’s recommendation scrum, which was suspended as part of the pandemic’s return to sporting measures to reduce close contacts. for next season.

However, this would only be the case if 85% of Super League and league players were vaccinated twice against the virus by 31 December. At present, 80.66% of Super League players are vaccinated twice, while the rate in the league is currently 81.71%.

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These figures are just below the current dual vaccination rate for the entire UK population aged 12 and over (82%), but with the RFL threshold unlikely to be reached by the end of the year. year and the Omicron variant now in circulation, confirmation of the return of the scrums will wait until the eve of the new season.

“The board of the RFL shares the opinion of the Committee on Laws and Sports in general, that the return of the scrum is desirable, especially in view of the World Cup in England at the end of 2022”, said the head of regulation. of RFL Karen Moorhouse.

“However, we have to balance this with the potential risk of transmission in scrum and scrum which leads individuals to have to isolate close contacts and the consequent impact on clubs’ ability to deploy teams.

“Currently everyone in a scrum would be considered close contact and so if there was a positive case within 48 hours of a match, all unvaccinated players who had been in a scrum with the positive individual would be required to isolate for 10 days.

We recognize this delay is far from ideal for coaches and players as they prepare for the 2022 season with continued uncertainty, but in a rapidly changing landscape this is the appropriate and responsible course of action at the state of affairs.

Karen Moorhouse, head of regulation of the RFL

Furthermore, the emergence of the Omicron variant since the last meeting of the Legislative Committee has clearly changed the landscape in terms of transmissibility and efficacy of double vaccinations, increasing the risk of positive cases and leading to a new focus on the importance of booster vaccines. .. “

Like their Australian counterparts in the NRL, the RFL has stopped imposing vaccines on Super League or championship players. However, state mandates mean NRL players who are not vaccinated will not be able to enter Queensland or Victoria stadiums next year or enter New Zealand.

The RFL, however, has urged clubs to inform unvaccinated players that their decisions are having a material impact on everyone else and the nature of 2022 competitions, given the support of the majority of players and coaches for the return of scrum. , if possible – an aspect of the game also approved in the 2021 RFL supporters survey.

The council goes on to state that all players are encouraged to do a jab booster as soon as possible also for their own health, that of other players and for the effective conduct of competitions.

“We have not imposed vaccination, but we have worked with clubs to encourage their players to do their part, both for the sport and in the national battle against Covid-19,” said Moorhouse.

“Significant progress has been made in the past couple of months, with some clubs establishing an exceptional lead in vaccination rates and now boosters.

“We recognize this delay is far from ideal for coaches and players as they prepare for the 2022 season with continued uncertainty, but in a rapidly changing landscape this is the appropriate and responsible course of action as things stand.” .

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