St George Illawarra Dragons forward Jack de Belin has withdrawn his appeal concerning the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy.

De Belin, 28, has not played in the NRL this year after being stood down in February and will stand trial on sexual assault charges in March 2020.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge in February.

But De Belin has ended his process against the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy, it was confirmed on Thursday.

“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,” a Dragons statement read.

“De Belin maintains that the NRL’s stand down rule operates as an unlawful restraint of trade and is contrary to his presumption of innocence.”

The NRL and Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) welcomed the move.

In a statement, they also said: “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.”

However, the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) continues to insist the rule is in breach of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“The CBA dispute is therefore focused both on how the NRL went about introducing the stand-down rule (i.e. the process), as well as how the rule itself impacts on the rights of players,” it said in a statement.

“The RLPA understands the pressure the recent alleged integrity issues placed on our game.

“However, it is important that under a partnership model the parties to the CBA work together in finding joint solutions to address challenges of this nature.

“The CBA dispute is critical to our members to ensure the role of their collective representative is not undermined and that the arrangements secured under the CBA are protected.

“The RLPA will continue to work through the confidential CBA dispute resolution process as set out in our statement of 24 May 2019.”