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North West Leagues Rules 2021-22

North West Leagues Rules 2022-23

Rule 1:              

All games to be played in accordance with the laws of the game as laid down by the R.F.U and as a condition of membership of the North West Leagues all Clubs shall be required to sign a Code of Conduct at the beginning of each season. 


Rule 2:              

All Clubs to use Society and Association referees. (Wherever possible) 


Rule 3:             

A player changing clubs can represent his new club immediately. 


Rule 4:  Membership Fees

Any team not having paid it’s membership fee  by August 26th will be deducted 5 points and for each subsequent week will be deducted a further 5 points per week. 

Fees for 2023-2024 Season has been set at £100 per team.

The Code of Conduct to be carried forward from previous seasons, with only new Clubs to complete the form before the season starts.

Rule 5:

The Home team will change strip in the event of a colour clash. 


Rule 6:   Presentation of Trophies          

 A trophy and a plaque will be presented annually to each League Champion at the Presentation Meeting. The Trophy will be returned at the end of the next season. In addition, all runners up will be presented with a plaque to keep.  A plaque should be awarded at the end of the season for the highest teams in Conference A, B and,C.


Rule 7: 

Confirmation of fixtures should be made as per RFU competitions with the Away side confirming the game and KO time. It is suggested that times be as follows. 3.00pm Sept/Oct/Mar/Apr, and 2.15pm Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb. 

By agreement between the teams KO times can vary from those suggested.

Any side unable to fulfil a fixture for any reason other than the weather forfeits the game, except under exceptional circumstances and agreed by the RULES committee. Exceptional requests must be submitted to the Leagues FIXTURES Secretary as soon as the problem crops up and each case will be dealt with on a case by case basis.   



Rule 8:  Results          

Both sides will be responsible for sending in the results. Score must be checked with the referee. These must be supplied to the Secretary of that league by Saturday 6.00pm at the very latest by TEXT.



Rule 9: League Positions

League position shall be determined by 


  1. League points awarded   Should this be equal,
  2. Team with least concedes takes senior position. Should this be equal,
  3. Head to head results. At this point –Points For and Against to be taken into consideration. Should this be equal.
  4. Toss of a coin. 


Rule 10:

In the event that the Committee become aware that a member club has materially mislead or deceived them to gain an advantage or that they are in breach of the Code of Conduct referred to in Rule 1 the Committee reserves the right to impose such disciplinary action as they deem fit including expulsion from the league.  


Rule 11:

 Where a Club does not fulfil its AWAY fixture in the first part of the season, then it must forego its HOME fixture and travel to play the opposition AWAY. 


Rule 12:

All results and tables will be posted on the league website on Saturday evening after 8pm Clubs must take their own copies for publication on notice boards from the websites.


Rule 13:   Points Allocation


Points will be awarded as follows

5 for a win or walkover,

3 for a draw,

1 for playing,

0 for a concede.

1 point for losing within 7 points.

In the Premier League only, a 4 Try Bonus Point will be awarded. This will also be the case in the Conferences A, B and C.

However, in a Premier League game, decided by a concede/Walkover, a Try Bonus point wll automatically be added to the non offending team.

and if a Premier League fixture is  decided by Pools Panel, the Commitee will decide if a try Bonus Point will be added.


Rule 14:  Replacements

  1. In thePremier League and Conferences a maximum of 20 players can be in the squad.
  2. In the Championship, Division 1, Divisions 2N & 2S, Divisions 3N,3W, 3C & 3S. A maximum of 3 NOMINATED replacements will be allowed in any match. In Divisions 4 & 5 an open number of replacements can be agreed by both captains and referee before the commencement of the game. If agreement cannot be agreed a maximum of 5 NOMINATED replacements will apply. 
  3. Rolling Subs to be allowed in all Leagues. An unlimited number of changes will be allowed.  Teams using more than allowed number of replacements will have two points deducted.
  4. If a game goes uncontested for any reason the opposition do NOT need to remove a player as per the Man off Rule. However, in the Premier League Only this will apply. Any team causing a game to go to uncontested scrums must carry on with one less player. This exception has been suspended for 2022-2023 Season.
  5. Where the lowest team in a club is in Division 3 or above, they are allowed to negotiate with their opponents to nominate more replacements than the number allowed. An agreement must be made before the game commences or even earlier.


Rule 15:    Uncontested Scrums:

 1.    Before a game commences if there is a shortage of front row players, the game starts with uncontested scrums. Should a team unable to field a front row win the match they will receive 2 POINTS MAXIMUM. Should the team with a full front row win they will be awarded FULL POINTS as per Rule 13. The losing side receives ONE point as per Rule 9. 

2.    If a game goes into uncontested scrums after the start normal rules apply, winner takes five points, loser takes ONE point. Man off Rule does not apply in North West League or Cup games. The exception being in the Premier League where the Man off Rule is being applied. Also applies to Conference A but not to Conferences B and C. This exception has been suspended for 2022-2023 Season.

3.   A draw in a game with uncontested scrums from the start, Three points each. 

4.   All games involved in uncontested scrums from the start MUST be reported to the Relevant League Secretary. 


Rule 16: Promotion and Relegation

The Committee shall decide the structure of the leagues and the numbers in each league.

Promotion shall be at least 2 up. Where a league is fed by one league the relegation shall be no more than 2 down. Where a league is fed by two leagues the relegation shall be no more than 4 down. To allow for teams dropping out of the leagues and new teams coming into the leagues the Committee may at its discretion increase the number promoted or decrease the number relegated, from the numbers shown above.


Rule 17:  Number of players

In the Premiership, Championship and Division 1 each side shall supply a minimum of 12 players for a game to go ahead. There will be no more than ONE man advantage to any team at the start of the game. Failure to supply a minimum of 12 players will result in a concede.

In all other Divisions games will start with a minimum of nine men per side. There will be no more than ONE man advantage to any team at the start of a game.

A minimum of 5 (FIVE) players must be supplied by every team and a team supplying less than 9 players can only receive 2 points in the event of victory. In a situation where a team has less than nine players the Captains must agree the exchange of players before the game begins. 

Should there be a failure to agree then the team responsible for the failure to agree shall forfeit the game. The points awarded on such failure shall be 5 points for the innocent team and 0 points for the team responsible for the failure.  

Failure to supply a minimum of 5 players will result in a concede. Teams who turn up with a full squad of 18/20 will be allowed to use all players.

Please Note that in a situation where teams have reduced number, they can agree to follow the RFU GAME ON PRINCIPLE. Both sides must agree before hand and referee informed. If either team does not agree with the use of the GAME ON Principle, then the Rules of the North West Leagues should be followed. Information about the Game on Principle can be found here on this link RFU GAME ON PRINCIPLE


Rule 18:   CONCEDES

  1. In the Premier, Championship and Division 1, any team which concedes THREE games in the course of a season will be expelled from the league and their records expunged. In all other Divisions, any team that concedes FOUR games in the course of a season will be expelled immediately and their records expunged.
  2. If a club’s higher team is expelled all their teams below that team will have to leave the Leagues as well.
  3. When a team’s records are expunged any conceded games against that team will be expunged as well.

Any team expelled from the League for failing to fulfil fixtures will not automatically be re-admitted the following season. If any team is expelled from the League then any lower teams from the same club will also be expelled. In the event of a side being expelled from the Leagues and then re-applying for the following season, they will then be introduced, if their application is accepted, in a league, one lower than their previous position. A refundable bond of £100 should be levied on any team that has been excluded and re-admitted the following season. This will be refunded upon completing the next season successfully. This bond will rise to £200 if a team is excluded 2 seasons running and so on.


Rule 19:    Concede by Senior team

       The Senior fixture in a Club’s list MUST ALWAYS, UNLESS THE SENIOR MATCH IS NOT PLAYED FOR SOME VALID REASON, be honoured at the expense of a lower team’s fixture. Failure to do this will result in ALL teams from the offending Club losing ALL POINTS, (Winning or Losing) from their respective matches. In addition another TWO POINTS will be deducted from all the offending Club’s teams. 

Only exception to deduction of points is when a team doesn't have a scheduled fixture.

The Opposition team(s) will  be awarded the winning  points.


If this happens on a weekend that involves a Cup Competition, all teams from that Club winning a Cup match that day will be eliminated from the Cup Competitions and their opponents will replace them in the next round. This includes teams who had a bye that day.


Rule 20:  Rearrangements

All fixtures will be decided by the League Committee.

Where matches need to be re-arranged, for whatever reason, the decision on the rearranged date must be ratified by League’s FIXTURE SECRETARY.

If a team requires a re-arrangement, they must gain the agreement of their opponents and a new date agreed. This information must be communicated immediately to their League Manager. If there are no dates available, the re-arrangement cannot take place and the fixture is expected to be played on the original date. 

***  Please note that once the season has started only games involving the lowest teams, from both clubs, that have a scheduled game can be postponed and re-arranged. 

Weather postponed games will be rearranged by the League’s Fixtures Secretary. This will usually be the first available Saturday. Where Saturdays are no longer available to rearrange these games, the Leagues Rule Committee will discuss various options to allow the fixtures to be settled. This might involve Double Headers and Pools Panel. There is No appeal available against Pools Panel decisions


Rule 21:  Double Headers

Consideration will be given to any proposal sent to the Rules Committee regarding League games in the North West Leagues being used as Double Headers with another League game or Cup games.

Permission to do so must be sought from the Rules Committee and agreed by both sides


Rule 22: Abandoned Games

Any game abandoned must be referred to the relevant League Secretary within 24 hours of the event by both teams. The time, score and reason for abandonment to be reported. Failure to do so will incur a fine of £50 and any subsequent failure in the same season will incur a further fine of £75. If abandonment takes place after 60 minutes the result will stand unless the abandonment is due to foul play of one of the teams. 


Rule 23:  Appeals

  1. The Rules Committee (at present, Chairman and Fixtures Secretary) are the sole interpreters of these rules. 
  2. All complaints received by the Leagues Secretary re infringement of League Rules by other teams/clubs MUST be in writing and received within 7 days of the incident/s occurring. Such complaints must be accompanied by documentary evidence including any referee’s report and written statements from officers of the complainant club. On receipt of the complaint the Leagues Secretary shall forward details of the complaint to the club the subject of the complaint, who shall respond within seven days. The Committee shall then issue their findings within 7 days and inform all involved.
  3. Should a team wish to appeal against a decision of the Rules Committee notice of the appeal together with a £50 remittance payable to "North West Leagues" must be forwarded to the Leagues Secretary within 7 days of the Rule’s Committee’s decision (time being of the essence). The matter would then be considered by the full Committee (excluding Members of the Rules Committee) for their decision. 
  4. Should a team be dissatisfied with the decision of the Committee they may (on payment of the appropriate fee) appeal to a RFU Disciplinary Panel by written notice to the Disciplinary Manager, Twickenham.  
  5. All appeal costs to be borne by the team making the appeal. 


Rule 24: Discipline

The Committee expects the highest standards of discipline from all participating Clubs, their players, officials, members and spectators. All breaches will be dealt with by the appropriate County Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the RFU’s Disciplinary Regulations, which are set out in the RFU Handbook and are on the RFU website. A County Disciplinary Committee has jurisdiction to deal with, and impose sanctions for, the following disciplinary offences: 

(i) Sendings off, where a player has been dismissed from the field of play by the referee. In all such cases, the referee must, within 48 hours after the end of the match, send a completed copy of the sending off report to the Secretary of the appropriate County Disciplinary Committee and to his own Referees’ Society or Organisation. 

(ii) Abuse of a match official, where a player, Club official or member is reported by a match official for abuse during the game or after it while he is still on or at a Club’s premises. Again, a written report should be completed by the match official and sent to the persons named in (i) above within 7 days from the day of the match. 

(iii) Citings by a Club or an Accredited Referee Assessor/ Advisor, ie where a player is alleged to have committed an act of foul play but has not been sent off for that act. In such case, a written citing complaint must be made to the appropriate County Disciplinary Secretary and received by him not later than the first post on the 14th day immediately following the match in which the incident took place. Clubs should note that this time limit cannot be extended under any circumstances and the full Citing Procedures are set out in Appendix 7 of the RFU’s Disciplinary Regulations. 

(iv)  Breach of Rule 5.12 of the Rules of the RFU, ie any words or conduct of any kind, which is prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the game. Such a breach may be by a Club, a team, an individual player, an official or member. Clubs should note that, although a County Disciplinary Committee may not have jurisdiction to sanction a spectator, who is not a member of a Club, the Club itself is responsible for controlling the behaviour, and ensuring the good conduct, of its spectators. Thus, a Club itself may be sanctioned for the misconduct of a non-member spectator. Any complaint relating to a breach of Rule 5.12 must be in writing and made to the appropriate County Disciplinary Secretary within a reasonable time. Any Club or individual, whether a member of a Club or not, may make such a complaint. 

(v)  Bad disciplinary record. Clubs should note that where players from or other members of a Club or people linked to a Club appear before a Disciplinary Committee (which includes a Club Disciplinary Committee and, thus, junior players) on more than 5 separate occasions in any one season, then that Club may be deemed to have a bad disciplinary record and sanctions may then be imposed on the Club itself or any of its teams.  





 Website address:-  http://www.nowirul.org.uk        


 Latest changes, 30th June  2022