Rugby League will continue to show its opposition to all forms of discrimination when the season gets underway for professional clubs this weekend.
The RFL has confirmed that the pre-kick off 13-second window, during which teams and individuals are encouraged to express support for anti-discrimination, will remain in place for the 2022 season.
This year, in a change from 2021, teams will assume their kick-off positions for the 13 seconds rather than line up facing the main stand or dug out. As with last season, players and match officials themselves will decide what anti-discrimination gesture to make during this 13-second window.
Rimla Akhtar, Chair of Rugby League’s game-wide Inclusion Board, says: “We continue to be resolutely committed to tackling discrimination in sport and in society. By becoming even more inclusive, Rugby League will be a stronger sport – one that is truly representative of all its communities.
“The 13 seconds are a platform for Rugby League to highlight its opposition to discrimination, and a reminder of the collective commitment that underpins our TACKLE IT plan.
“The RFL will continue to hold conversations with players and match officials throughout the season and has reaffirmed its wholehearted support to those who choose to make a gesture, including taking the knee. It’s important that gestures are player-led and we encourage fans to continue to show their support, as they did last season, by applauding players during the 13 seconds.”
Increasing inclusion and diversity whilst tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism, is considered key to the growth and success of Rugby League. The TACKLE IT action plan is sport-wide and sets out specific measures which the sport is taking together to deliver real change.
The RFL will work with clubs throughout 2022 to make TACKLE IT not only a critical action plan for the game, but a more visible anti-discrimination campaign as well. The Inclusion Board will oversee progress and provide strategic advice.