THE Rugby Football League’s Laws Committee has approved a subtle change in the wording surrounding the policing of play-the-balls in the 2020 season.

At their meeting earlier this month, proposals to stress the responsibility of tackled players “to maintain balance and control and make a genuine attempt to make contact on the ball with the foot” as well as placing the ball on the ground and not on defenders were unanimously accepted.

From now on, failure to fulfil those requirements will be ruled as a lost ball resulting in a scrum rather than a penalty.

The responsibilities of defenders is also outlined in the following ways:

“No tackler should make an adjustment on the tackle or leave hands or body in the play-the-ball area after the tackle is complete. Referees should act on any interference once the tackle has been called.”

“Tacklers who ‘clamp’ the ball and keep their hands/arm on the ball when the ball carrier is standing up should be penalised.”

All of those changes – as well as previously announced shortening of shot-clock timings and the adopting of golden point extra time in Championship and League One fixtures – have been ratified by the RFL board.

In another confirmed directive, striking (defined as contact being made to the head which is deemed forceful by the match officials) will be included as an automatic sin bin.