The National Rugby League is exploring ways to introduce new rules which could see players with a record of violence against women banned from competition for life.
The planned protocols, which would be the first in major Australian football code if implemented, may hand out bans ranging from nine months to life to players who committed acts of domestic violence, sexual offenses or disrespect towards women.
“There are now very, very clear guidelines which are in the process of being released and I think they are excellent guidelines,” said NRL gender adviser Catharine Lumby. “Certainly with domestic violence and sexual assault, where that’s been proven, my view has always been that players should be taken out of the game.”
The codes came after a series of domestic violence cases committed by NRL players surfaced, including South Sydney’s Kirisome Auva’a who came back nine months after assaulting his girlfriend and former Tigers footballer Tim Simona who forced his girlfriend Jaya Taki to have an abortion.
NRL’s CEO Todd Greenberg has indicated that the league would give “second chance” to disgraced athletes.
“If necessary and for the most serious of acts, absolutely we will [punish],” said Greenberg at the launch of the Women in League round. “But again we’ll have to judge those on their merit.
“We’re not perfect and I’m not sure we’ll ever be perfect, but we’re aiming to be the best we can be and to provide a leadership position that others can look too.”