Jack de Belin

The NRL’s no-fault stand-down policy will remain in 2021.

The Australian‘s Brent Read reports that an independent arbiter ticked off the governing body’s decision to enforce the rule in a major win for the NRL over the players union.

It is a significant victory for ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys, chief executive Andrew Abdo and commissioner Peter Beattie, who have all been strong advocates of the rule.

It is believed that the arbiter reached his decision on Monday morning in what was a nervous wait for the NRL and RLPA after being informed documentation went through over the weekend.

NRL Press Conference
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys speaks to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on September 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The decision is believed to have been a costly one for the RLPA and could be north of six figures in legal expenses.

The NRL introduced the no-fault stand-down policy in March 2019 – suspending players who are faced with serious criminal charges with a maximum jail term of 11 years or more.

It has seen the likes of Dragon Jack de Belin and Sea Eagle Manase Fainu stood down over the last two years, with the former’s fate for the upcoming season now sealed amid the arbiter’s verdict.

De Belin was stood down under the no-fault stand down policy in February 2019 over an alleged sexual assault charges. He faces charges of five counts of rape.

The 29-year old challenged the NRL’s no-fault stand-down rule at federal court and even to the Rugby League Players Association, to no avail.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 01: Jack De Belin of the Dragons in action during the round 25 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

De Belin currently awaits the verdict for his rape re-trial in April.

If found not guilty, De Belin could return as early as round nine, however, it is more likely he will be eased back into action through the reserve grades.

The is reportedly NRL is reportedly preparing to sit down with RLPA to discuss further sanctions for player misbehaviour to protect the game’s finances and credibility.

The governing body is believed to be so concerned about the NRL’s image and financial ramifications of player misdemeanours that they want to ramp up sanctions in a bid to avoid future mishaps.