April 21 (Reuters) – The Rugby Football Union (RFU) voted on Friday to approve laws redefining tackle height in community rugby.
The new tackle height level will be defined as below the base of the sternum, the area of the tummy or belly and below, and will come into effect from July 1. The RFU, which consulted nearly 10,000 people across the sport, announced in January that tackling above the waist would be banned in community rugby matches from next season to reduce head impact exposure and concussion risk.
After the guidelines were met with widespread criticism, the RFU apologized for causing “anger and concern” and said it would seek community support to implement tackle height guidelines.
“We know change is challenging however, it is imperative that we are guided by science to help make the game safer for our players,” RFU President Nigel Gillingham said.
Groups of amateur and former professional players have brought claims against rugby bodies alleging they negligently failed to protect them from concussion and non-concussion injuries that caused various neurological disorders.
Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk, editing by Ed Osmond
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