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De Belin withdraws appeal against no-fault stand down policy

Dragons star Jack de Belin has dropped his legal dispute of the NRL's no-fault stand down rule in Federal Court.

De Belin's legal team reappeared briefly in court on Thursday morning to confirm his appeal has been withdrawn, with his stand-down from the game to continue.

The St George Illawarra and NSW Origin forward has been stood down from playing duties since the start of the 2019 season as he awaits trial over the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Wollongong last December.

De Belin, who has pleaded not guilty to five charges laid by local police, was the first player stood down under the no-fault policy after its introduction in March.

ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie welcomed the withdrawal of de Belin's legal action.

"The Commission and the NRL take very seriously our responsibility to protect the reputation of the game and its stakeholders," Beattie said via a statement.

"We have always held the view that the no-fault stand down rule is in the best interests of the game and are pleased that the legal challenge to this rule has now been concluded."

De Belin is still contracted to the Dragons until the end of 2020 and is still being paid his full salary.

St George Illawarra released a statement to say: "de Belin made the decision to discontinue proceedings as a direct result of the determination early this week of the commencement of his criminal trial in the District Court on March 2, 2020, which is prior to the start of the 2020 NRL season, and given the likelihood that the outcome of the Federal Court appeal would not be finalised until after the completion of the Dragons' 2019 season".

He is still training with his teammates with Beattie vowing the ARLC will "continue to work with the club to monitor the welfare of de Belin."

Penrith's Tyrone May is also currently stood down from playing under the no-fault stand-down rule, following criminal charges being laid against him regarding the alleged filming and dissemination of sexual acts with two women without their knowledge or consent.

A trial date of March 2, 2020 was set for de Belin's criminal case earlier this week.

Co-accused Callan Sinclair facing four charges of aggravated sexual assault in company and one charge of aggravated sexual assault in company causing actual body harm.

The RLPA has released a statement to say it "remains of the view that the NRL’s stand down rule has been introduced in breach of the Collective Bargaining Agreement".

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