Peter Beattie: No fault stand down policy is working
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter Beattie says the newly established ‘no fault stand-down’ policy is having a positive effect on the game.
It comes after the Federal Court ruled in favour of the ARL in its legal battle with Jack De Belin – meaning the St George Illawarra Dragons forward will remain stood down until the conclusion of his court proceedings.
De Belin who has pleaded not guilty to an aggravated sexual assault charge against him, was the first player stood down under the policy which allows for the automatic suspension of players charged with serious criminal offences which a jail sentence of 11 years or more.
Beattie told Halftime the code will look after De Belin’s welfare, but did admit the policy is working for the game.
“Once the new fault rule came in, it kept a large number of sponsors who were thinking of walking away, it kept them with the game,” Beattie said.
“That’s why we brought it in and because it was the right thing to do frankly, but also it had commercial ramifications if we didn’t.
“We held a lot of our sponsors and supporters because we brought in the no fault rule, that’s what happened.
“We’ve got to do a little bit of rebuilding I have to say, a lot of our sponsors are very happy where the game is, but they will obviously watch what happens this year.
“The important thing for us is also to continue to engage with our fans and encourage mums and dads to get their boys and girls playing, so we’re in a good space but we’ve got to keep going.
“Since the no fault rule came in, there haven’t been any behavioural issues and that’s great for the game, if we keep the on-field and off-field both good then the game will continue to grow.”
Manly’s Dylan Walker who was the second player stood down under the policy was found not guilty of domestic violence charges and returned to the playing field in Manly’s win over Cronulla on Sunday.
While Penrith’s Tyrone May remains stood down on charges of recording and distributing sexual acts without consent.
It’s been a mixed six months for Beattie, the ARL Commission and the NRL with off-field behaviour rocking the code and forcing the implementation of the stand-down policy, while the recent Magic Round in Brisbane was a big success for the game.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.