NRL Bans Mobile Phones from Dressing Rooms

25th January 2017

In a move to shut down possible communication between NRL players and gamblers, mobile phones will be banned from dressing rooms on game day.

TV footage has in the past shown players who have been injured during games, speaking on mobile phones. Such footage has sparked integrity concerns that an injured player could talk to betting agencies, or big punters, keen to know whether the player will return to the field. In reality, the players are probably speaking to family members, possibly allaying fears of a serious injury. Coaches have embraced the ban, relieved that players will not be communicating on social media in the minutes before a match.

Given the distractions of social media and the small psychological and tactical advantages coaches seek, mobile phones are a continuing source of frustration. However, it is understood the NRL is introducing the ban solely for integrity reasons. Some players' incoming texts could be inquiries from gamblers keen to know the starting team which, traditionally, an NRL club was only required to post one hour before the match.

Only four mobile phones will be allowed in an NRL dressing room belonging to the club doctor, the football manager and two designated personnel.

Players often use mobile phones to listen to music in the dressing room but will be able to access this via digital audio devices. It's anticipated self-regulation will apply, with coaches the co-operative policemen.