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Jack De Belin stood down from NRL

St George Illawara Dragons forward Jack De Belin has been stood down from the NRL while he fights charges of aggravated sexual assault.

In a watershed moment for the NRL, De Belin will be permitted to train with St George and will remain on full pay, but he will not be allowed to take to the field on match day.

The ARL Commission met at Rugby League headquarters in Sydney on Thursday before announcing major changes to the league’s disciplinary procedures relating to players facing serious criminal charges.

Jack De Belin pleaded not guilty in Wollongong Court and will now face an indefinite period on the bench.

Previously, NRL policy stated that a player who pleads not guilty to serious criminal charges is still eligible to play in the NRL while the matter is dealt with in court.

Under the new policy, any player who is charged with an offence which carries a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison or more will be automatically stood down from playing. For charges which carry a lesser sentence, the NRL CEO reserves the right to make a call one way or the other on a case by case basis.

ARL Commissioner Peter Beattie was adamant that the decision to stand a player down was not akin to judging their guilt or innocence.

“We are making no judgment whatsoever in relation to any player who is charged with any offence. What we’re doing is setting a benchmark and a standard to protect the game of rugby league.”

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