RUGBY league will continue to show its opposition to discrimination with a 13-second window when the 2022 season gets under way for professional clubs this weekend.

In a change for this year, the Rugby Football League says players will take up their kick-off positions for the 13 seconds instead of lining up in front of the main stand or dugout.

It will be left to players and match officials themselves to decide if they take the knee or not and the RFL says it will encourage fans to applaud the gesture.

Rimla Akhtar, chair of the RFL inclusion board, said: "We continue to be resolutely committed to tackling discrimination in sport and in society.

"By becoming even more inclusive, rugby league will be a stronger sport - one that is truly representative of all its communities.

"The 13 seconds are a platform for rugby league to highlight its opposition to discrimination and a reminder of the collective commitment that underpins our 'Tackle It' plan."

In other news, The RFL is set to introduce a green card for referees in a move to combat games being deliberately delayed.

Coaches have called for action over games getting longer as a result of delays caused by what some are deeming disingenuous treatment for injury.

A new approach is now being brought in, following a Laws Committee discussion and approval by the RFL board.

It means that any time a game is stopped due to a player receiving attention, the player must either go off for a concussion assessment or be substituted off – or will have to wait on the sideline for two minutes before returning to play.

The introduction of a shot clock in recent years hasn’t dealt with the issue of delays, particularly around drop outs.

The new ‘green card’ law:

Should the referee call time off at the request of either a Physio, Doctor or Head Trainer to allow a player to receive attention, then the player will either leave the field for a concussion assessment, be interchanged, or will leave the field for 2 minutes of elapsed playing time before being allowed to re-enter the field by the Reserve Referee in an onside position from the dug out side of the field.

When the injured player leaves the field for a period of 2 minutes, the referee will show the green card to indicate this process starting.

The referee still holds sole discretion to be able to call time off.

Explaining the changes, Robert Hicks, now RFL Director of Operations and Legal, said: “This rule change only applies when the game is being played or where the shot clock isn’t being used.

“And it doesn’t apply if the referee chooses to stop the game because he believes it’s not safe to carry on.”