Tackling above the armpit will be outlawed at all levels of English rugby league from 2025 in a bid to reduce the risk of head contact.

The tackle height change, which will come into force at grassroots level next year and then in the elite game the year after, is one of 44 recommendations accepted by the Rugby Football League (RFL) board today, all of which are intended to make the sport safer at all levels.

Different limits will also be placed on the number of matches forwards and backs can play in a 12-month period, while a minimum off-season of four weeks and a further two-week non-contact period in pre-season will also be mandatory.

Instrumented mouthguards, which measure a player's exposure to head accelerations, will be compulsory in the men's and women's Super League, the RFL said.

Independent concussion spotters will be trialled next year, after they were utilised at last year's World Cup, alongside the introduction of a new head contact sanctioning framework.

Any direct contact without mitigation to the head would mean a sanction starting at Grade D - a two- or three-match ban.

The RFL's independent board accepted all of the recommendations made by the sport's Brain Health and Clinical Advisory Group Sub-Committees.

At the junior level, contact rugby will be replaced by touch/tag in a stepped approach, starting with under-sixes and under-sevens in 2024, and continuing with that age group to under-eights from 2025, and under-nines from 2026.

No rugby league is to be played in December at community level from 2024 unless played as part of an existing winter offering.

For all other competitions, no contact rugby league activity will take place after the third weekend in November until January, when a graduated return to contact will be in place.

The RFL have also released the below video on social media to give real-life examples of tackles that would be legal or illegal under the new rules:

"We acknowledge the challenges (these changes) will pose for those at all levels of the sport," RFL chief executive Tony Sutton said.

"We believe they are essential, as rugby league must respond to developments in medical and scientific knowledge to prioritise the safety of those that play.

"It is also the case that they offer exciting opportunities to increase the appeal and accessibility of rugby league, especially at junior and community levels.

"Rugby league will remain a tough, gladiatorial and character-building team sport.

"But we believe the mandating of tag/touch at the introductory levels - initially under-sixes rising to under-eights from 2026 - and the reduction in the legal tackle height at all levels from 2025 will place a new emphasis on skill and attacking play.

"This will further increase the appeal of rugby league, both to parents, and to open-age community players."

The RFL has been working with Leeds Beckett University since 2021 on the TaCKLE project.

Legal proceedings were formally issued against the RFL earlier this year on behalf of 100 former players, who claim the sport failed to protect them from serious brain injuries.