REGULATION 4.     PLAYER STATUS, PLAYER CONTRACTS AND PLAYER MOVEMENT

4.1 The Game is open to all and Persons may receive Material Benefit notwithstanding that for the majority of those participating in the Game will remain a non-vocational leisure activity.

4.2 The provisions of this Regulation 4 deal with the status and eligibility of Players and the movement of Players from one Union to another.

4.3 Subject to Regulation 4.4 below, each Union shall provide its own system for the movement of Players within its jurisdiction. Such system shall be governed by appropriate regulations and shall be provided to World Rugby on request.

4.4 The regulations referred to in Regulation 4.3 above shall include the Regulations and observe the general principles set out in Regulations 4.5, 4.8.1 and 4.9 below.

4.5 Status of Players and Contracts for Material Benefit

4.5.1 Subject to Regulation 4.5.10:

(a) a Player may receive Material Benefit from a Union;

(b) a Union may permit any Rugby Body or Club in membership of that Union to provide Material Benefit to any Player;

(c) any Player receiving Material Benefit from a Union, Rugby Body or Club must have in place a written agreement with such Union, Rugby Body or Club.

4.5.2 If a Union grants such permission as is referred to in 4.5.1 (b) above, then prior to any written agreement between a Rugby Body or Club and a Player taking effect within that Union, the written agreement must:

(a) be agreed by the relevant parties;

(b) be concluded for a pre-determined period; and

(c) be in a form approved by the Union as notified in writing to the Rugby Body or Club.

A copy of such written agreement shall be provided to the Union concerned and, on demand, made available to World Rugby.

4.5.3 Only written agreements (excluding financial terms) in a form approved in writing and distributed by the Union within whose territory the Player is Registered shall be used by Rugby Bodies and/or Clubs and recognised by the Union and/or World Rugby.

4.5.4 Only Players with written agreements that are in a form approved and distributed by the Union concerned shall be eligible to participate in competitions organised, recognised or sanctioned by that Union.

4.5.5 No Union, Rugby Body or Club shall enter in any written agreement and/or arrangement of any kind that provides for and/or in any way facilitates third party influence and/or control over a Player’s playing relationship with his Union, Rugby Body or Club and/or his Registration.

4.5.6 Only a Player who is currently Registered with a Union shall be able to participate in competitions organised, recognised or sanctioned by that Union[1].

4.5.7 Players who are Registered and are currently receiving, or who have received, Material Benefit shall be regarded as Contract Players (save for those Players who are no longer classified as Contract Players in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 4.8.1 below). All other Players who are Registered shall be regarded as Non-Contract Players.

4.5.8 A Player may not be registered simultaneously with more than one Union unless he is classified as a student that has reached the age of majority and is in full time education (“Student”) or has reached the age of majority and is a full time member of the armed services (“Serviceman”) and has the prior written permission of his Home Union for Dual Registration[2]. The status of a Player shall be determined by the Home Union of the Student and/or Serviceman.

4.5.9 For the purposes of Regulation 4.5.8, the Home Union of the Player has absolute discretion to refuse a Student or Serviceman (as the case may be) permission for Dual Registration. Only players that are Students or Servicemen are entitled to apply for permission for Dual Registration. Where a Student or Servicemen is granted permission for Dual Registration by their Home Union:

(a) The Dual Registration will not amount to a Clearance under Regulation 4.6 and must be:

(i) For no longer than twelve months;[3] and

(ii) By way of a Standard Dual Registration Form.

(b) The Union with which the Player is first Registered retains all rights in relation to the Player concerned including, but not limited to, the right to seek compensation in respect of the Player pursuant to Regulation 4.7.

4.5.10 When leaving his Current Union, a Player shall not be treated as a Contract Player unless he was Registered as such with that Union.

4.5.11 Each Union shall maintain a register of all Contract Players and all Dual Registered Players under its jurisdiction and shall provide access to and/or copies of such register (or any part thereof) on demand, to World Rugby.

4.5.12 No Union, Rugby Body or Club shall enter into an agreement with any Player which enables the Player to receive Material Benefit unless:

(a) such Player has reached the age of contractual majority within the jurisdiction of such Union, Rugby Body, or Club; or

(b) in the case of Players under the age of contractual majority who are aged 16 years or over, unless such Material Benefit takes the form of a non refundable financial grant to be applied only for the purposes of a Player’s academic and/or vocational training for a period of 12 months or longer. 

4.5.13 Each Union is entitled to establish appropriate regulations relating to the registration and development of Players below the age of contractual majority within the jurisdiction of such Union.[4]

4.5.14 Any regulations established by a Union pursuant to Regulation 4.5.13 above must be provided to World Rugby on request by World Rugby.

4.6 Movement of Players Between Unions

4.6.1 A Player leaving or proposing to leave his Current Union to play in another Union shall not be Registered or eligible to participate in competitions organised, recognised or sanctioned by that New Union until the New Union has received the original version (or a facsimile copy of the original version) of a Clearance.[5]

4.6.2 A copy of a Clearance should be provided to World Rugby on request by the New Union and a further copy must remain in the possession of the Player’s Current Union.

4.6.3 A Player’s Current Union shall not consent to the issue of a Clearance if that Player is under suspension on disciplinary grounds, unless such suspension is for a period of five weeks or less and the New Union has confirmed in writing that a suspension for an equal period of the balance of the suspension will be imposed on the Player in the competition(s) for which the New Union is to register him.

4.6.4 A Player’s Current Union shall be entitled to refuse to give its consent to the issue of a Clearance if the Player concerned has not fulfilled any of his obligations under the terms of his contract with his Current Union, Rugby Body or Club.

4.6.5 Save in the circumstances set out in Regulations 4.6.3 and 4.6.4 above, a Player’s Current Union shall not be entitled to refuse to give its consent to the issue of a Clearance.

4.6.6 A Contract Player’s current Union shall indicate on the Clearance the period of rest the Contract Player has received in the preceding 12 months.

4.6.7 Disputes relating to the issue of a Clearance shall be referred, by Unions or Associations only, to the CEO who shall, via the Judicial Panel Chairman, or his designee, refer such disputes to a Judicial Officer or Judicial Committee to be dealt with in accordance with Regulation 18.10.

4.7 Compensation for Player Development

4.7.1 A Contract Player shall not move to another Union, Rugby Body or Club during the period of his written agreement unless the Union, Rugby Body or Club to which he is contracted, the Union, Rugby Body or Club he is proposing to join, and the Player himself all concur. Any compensation to be paid in such cases shall be agreed between the relevant parties concerned.

4.7.2 In recognition of the investment made by Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs (as the case may be) in the training and/or development of Players, when:

(a) a Contract Player whose written agreement has expired enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union, his Home Union (or Rugby Body or Club in membership of his Home Union as the case may be) shall, be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development;

(b) a Non-Contract Player enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union, his Home Union (or Rugby Body or Club in membership of his Home Union as the case may be) shall be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development; and

(c) a Non-Contract Player moves outside his Home Union and retains his status as a Non-Contract Player, then, subject to Regulation 4.8.3, the Player’s Home Union (or Rugby Body or Club in membership of his Home Union, as the case may be) shall have no claim to compensation.

4.7.3 Disputes over which Union constitutes a Player’s Home Union for the purposes of determining entitlement to compensation for a Player’s training and development may be referred, by Unions or Associations only, to the CEO who shall via the Judicial Panel Chairman, or his designee, refer such disputes to a Judicial Officer or Judicial Committee to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 18.10. In determining such entitlement, the Judicial Officer or Judicial Committee shall, in particular, take into account the following factors:

(a) the length of time the Player trained with the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club;

(b) actual training costs incurred by the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club;

(c) the quality and regularity of the training undertaken; and

(d) the progress of the Player during his time at the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club.

4.7.4 The amount of compensation payable pursuant to Regulation 4.7.2, shall be calculated in accordance with Figure 1 below:

Figure 1

A = B x C

Where    A =  the compensation payable;

B =  the Standard Annual Development Investment of £5,000[6];

C = the number of years, between the ages of 17 and 23, a player has spent in development programmes of the Current Union.

For illustrations of the formula see Section 7 of the Explanatory Note to Regulation 4.

4.7.5 The Standard Annual Development Investment figure represents the average level of per Player funding attributable to development programmes in World Rugby High Performance and Performance Unions.

The factors below constitute a guide to what is included within the Standard Annual Development Investment:

(a)  Actual and identifiable training costs in relation to Player development incurred by the Union, Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) including, but not limited to:

(i)  proportionate salary or compensation paid to coaches;

(ii) board and lodging;

(iii) proportionate costs of training infrastructure (for example, hire of facilities, equipment);

(b) Other general costs that can be attributed, either in full or in part, to a Player’s rugby education, training and development; and

(c) Assembly costs for next senior fifteen-a-side National Representative Team, senior National Representative Sevens Team and National Age Grade Teams.

For the avoidance of doubt, the following items are specifically excluded from the Standard Annual Development Investment:

(d) Medical and non-rugby specific costs (e.g., school fees and other education costs);

(e) Domestic and international competition costs; and

(f) Assembly costs for domestic club teams and international club teams.

4.7.6 The number of years a Player has spent in development programmes of the Current Union is a key component of the calculation. It is recognised that there is a defined period in which Unions invest in Player development, and this is deemed to be between the ages of 17 and 23. During the defined development period therefore, there is a maximum of seven years investment in Player development.

4.7.7 Any disagreement over the fee payable pursuant to Regulation 4.7.2 and Figure 1 for such Player’s training and/or development, may be referred, by Unions or Associations only, to the CEO who shall via the Judicial Panel Chairman, or his designee, refer such disputes to a Judicial Officer or Judicial Committee to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions or Regulation 18.10.

4.7.8 Any disagreement between the relevant parties regarding the payment of compensation for the training and/or development of a Player, shall not affect a Player’s playing activity and Clearance may not be refused for this reason.

4.7.9 Compensation for a Player’s training and development shall be paid by the Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) to which the Player is proposing to move, to the Player’s Home Union.

4.7.10 Each Union shall be entitled to establish its own regulations for the distribution of compensation monies received by it to Rugby Bodies and Clubs in its membership or otherwise.

4.7.11 When compensation for a Player’s training and development is payable by a Rugby Body or Club, then the Union with which such Rugby Body or Club is affiliated shall, in the event of default or non-performance by such Rugby Body or Club be liable for the payment of the compensation as principal debtor.

4.8  Change of Player Status

4.8.1 A Player who has been Registered as a Contract Player will continue to be classified as a Contract Player until a period of 12 months has elapsed from the date such Player competed in his last Match when registered as a Contract Player.

4.8.2 Subject to Regulation 4.7.2(a), if, within three years of the date on which a Contract Player competed in his last Match when registered as a Contract Player, he enters into a written agreement in a different Union, then his Home Union (or Rugby Body or Club in membership of his Home Union) shall be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development.

4.8.3 Subject to Regulation 4.7.2(b) if, within three years of the date on which a Non-Contract Player moves outside his Home Union he enters into a written agreement in a different Union then his Home Union (or Rugby Body or Club in membership of his Home Union, as the case may be) shall be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development.

4.8.4 Prior to a Player’s status changing pursuant to Regulation 4.8.2 or 4.8.3 above, the Union to which the Player is about to become Registered shall notify the Player’s Home Union.

4.9 Approaches to Contract Players or other Contracted Person [7] 

 

4.9.1 No Union, Rugby Body, Club, Agent or any other Person or entity, whether acting on its own account or on behalf of any third party, shall approach (or accept an approach by or on behalf of) any Contract Player or other Contracted Person who has a written agreement with a Union, Rugby Body or Club to induce or attempt to induce such Contract Player or Contracted Person to leave their Union, Rugby Body or Club unless (i) the prior written consent of that Union, Rugby Body or Club has been obtained; or (ii) such approach is made in the final twelve months of the term of that Player or Contracted Person’s Contract or at the next option/break clause of that Player or Contracted Person’s Contract.
 
4.9.2 No Contract Player or other Contracted Person who has a written agreement with a Union, Rugby Body or Club shall approach (or allow an approach to be made on his/her behalf) another Union, Rugby Body or Club unless (i) the prior written consent of the Union, Rugby Body or Club, with whom he/she has a written agreement, has been obtained; or (ii) such approach is made in the final twelve months of the term of that Player or Contracted Person’s Contract or at the next option/break clause of that Player or Contracted Person’s Contract.
 
4.9.3 Alleged transgressions of Regulation 4.9 will be dealt with in accordance with Regulation 18 (and in the case of Agents, Regulation 5) either through the breaches process in Regulation 18.4 (if they involve a Union or Association) and/or through the disputes process in Regulation 18.10 (if they involve a Rugby Body, Club or Person). These matters may result in the imposition of the penalties set out in Regulation 18.6.1 (and in the case of Agents, in Regulation 5.1.10).

 

SECTION 1.             GUIDELINES FOR UNIONS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG PLAYERS

A.  Introduction – Mission

To assist Unions in devising programmes for the development and training of young players within their jurisdiction World Rugby has developed Guidelines on the development of young players, incorporating a Young Player Protocol and an Explanatory Note on compensation for young player training and development activities.

In producing the Guidelines the objective of World Rugby is to:

(i) encourage Unions, Clubs, Rugby Bodies, schools and colleges to attract as many young players as possible to participate in the sport of Rugby Union without prejudice to their educational needs;

(ii) to encourage the introduction of coaching and training programmes that promote the development of young players; and

(iii) Reward Unions, Clubs and Rugby Bodies that make a commitment and investment in developing future generations of Rugby Union players.

B. Integrated Approach

Unions, Clubs and Rugby Bodies should work and liaise closely with schools, colleges and Clubs, at all levels, to ensure that Rugby Union is perceived as a positive experience for potential young players. Unions, Clubs and Rugby Bodies should also work to establish and maintain good relationships with local schools, colleges and community centres to encourage participation and to help minimise the potential for conflict between the interests and activities of school/representative rugby and Club rugby, paying particular regard to the dangers of over-commitment to one activity.

C. Licensed Training Centres

Unions may operate, and/or sanction, Rugby Bodies or Clubs in their membership to operate, Licensed Training Centres in which young players may receive coaching and training services. Unions should develop application forms to be completed by Rugby Bodies and Clubs in their membership who wish to operate a Licensed Training Centre. The number of Licensed Training Centres in a Union and the conditions pursuant to which permission to run a Licensed Training Centre may be granted by a Union shall be determined by that Union. However, the Fundamental Requirements set out in section D below should be satisfied before a Union may operate and/or sanction a Licensed Training Centre to be operated by a Rugby Body or Club within its jurisdiction.

A Union may only operate, or arrange to have operated, a Licensed Training Centre and/or conduct any other development, training or playing programme within its own geographical boundaries. Rugby Bodies or Clubs may only operate or arrange to have operated Licensed Training Centres and/or conduct any other development, training or playing programme within the geographical boundaries of the Union to which the Rugby Body or Club is affiliated.

Unions must undertake an annual review of the performance of each Licensed Training Centre within its jurisdiction to determine whether that Training Centre should maintain its status as a Licensed Training Centre. In addition to Licensed Training Centres, Unions should encourage and promote participation in Rugby Union and the development of young players via other means.[8]  This may include, but should not be limited to, mini-rugby, junior rugby and age-grade rugby organised by Clubs or Rugby Bodies registered with the Union. Any such matches or related coaching/training activities must be properly regulated to ensure that the health and welfare of young players is properly protected at all times. In this respect Unions should have regard, in particular, to the Fundamental Requirements set out in section D below including, but not limited to:

(a) implementing proper Child Protection policies that ensure any persons having contact with minors have been properly vetted/ screened to ensure their suitability to participate in playing/training activities involving minors; and

(b) the provision of appropriate medical and first aid facilities.

D. The Fundamental Requirements

Licensed Training Centres must:

1. Develop programmes that concentrate not only on physical and technical training and development of young players, but also focus on the broader educational, personal and welfare needs of such players.

2. Ensure that Licensed Training Centre personnel/operatives liaise with parents or legal guardians of young players to design programmes that operate in the best interests of a player’s educational, technical, academic and social needs.

3. Aim to provide players with an effective Rugby education having regard to their age and playing capabilities.

4. Develop coaching and training programmes that have as their first priority, the interests of players, in particular, their health, safety and welfare.

5. Ensure that coaching staff, parents (or legal guardians) and players maintain the highest ethical standards at all times and adhere to the World Rugby Young Players’ Protocol.

6. Devise and apply effective policies of ‘Child Protection’. These policies should include appropriate procedures for the recruitment of qualified coaches and other adults having contact with minors, based on vetting/screening and registration processes.

7. Engage coaches and adult staff that are well trained and committed to their continuing development as coaches.

8. Provide suitable, safe facilities for the coaching and development of minors, including proper medical and first aid facilities.

9. Have readily available during training sessions and/or matches, persons (coaches or others) who are able to administer emergency first aid treatment to young players.

10. Have in place appropriate insurance cover for all players, coaches and staff engaged in any Licensed Training Centre activity.

11. Apply effective monitoring schemes designed to ensure that playing and training timetables for young players are properly regulated to avoid overplaying and/or over-training.

12. Adopt policies that prevent players travelling long distances and/or giving a disproportionate amount of time to training and development programmes to the detriment of the players’ academic or other recreational activities.

13. Ensure that Licensed Training Centre personnel inform parents (or legal guardians), schools and other interested parties how they intend to train and develop a player and seek to ensure that training programmes complement, and do not prejudice, other educational and/or vocational training that the young player is receiving or may receive.    

14. Endeavour, in consultation with Unions, Clubs, Rugby Bodies, schools and colleges, to set a maximum number of competitive matches that young players should play in any one season as part of a structured season. The number of competitive matches should be determined, in part, by a player’s age.

15. Provide for a maximum ratio of players to coaches which preferably shall be 30:1.

16. Carry out an annual review of the progress of Licensed Training Centre players and regularly report on each player’s progress and activities to that player and his parents or legal guardians.

17. Take such steps as are necessary to ensure that all players adhere to the World Rugby Code of Conduct and receive appropriate guidance on drug education.

18. Ensure that in all matches within Licensed Training Centres and/or any training activities, coaches and other Licensed Training Centre personnel arrange a reasonably even matching of opponents.

19. Ensure that the Laws of the Game (including any variation of the Laws issued by World Rugby or Unions for young players in particular age categories) are followed, and particular emphasis is given to those Laws that are necessary for player safety.

20. Ensure that young players displaying injury are never encouraged to continue playing.

21. Take steps to ensure that violent actions are discouraged at all times (where appropriate, players must be advised that their on-field activities can lead to prosecution and/or civil action off the field).

22. Ensure that equipment is not only issued and used correctly, but also checked frequently for deterioration that may lead to unsafe situations.

E. Movement of Young Players

When establishing and/or reviewing their polices for youth development and formulating the conditions pursuant to which a Union operates, or sanctions a Rugby Body or Club to operate a Licensed Training Centre, Unions must be aware that, for compensation to be claimed for a player’s training and development if a young player moves from one Union to another, that player must be registered as an Associate Player in a Licensed Training Centre and it will be necessary for the claimant to have complied with (and demonstrate compliance with) these Guidelines.

If Unions elect not to operate Licensed Training Centres and the Associate Player registration scheme or do not allow their Rugby Bodies or Clubs to do so (or if Licensed Training Centres do not meet appropriate standards) Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs will not be entitled under these Guidelines to claim compensation in respect of a player’s training and development.

 

SECTION 2.             YOUNG PLAYERS PROTOCOL

A. Introduction

1. World Rugby for and on behalf of its members recognises the importance of the development of the Game of Rugby Union in all Unions throughout the world.

2. Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs must promote the playing of the Game and be encouraged to identify, train and develop young players in order to broaden participation and improve standards in emerging Unions as well as the more developed Unions.

B. Associate Players

3. The rationale behind the Associate Player Scheme set out in this Protocol, is to reward and protect Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs who invest time and resources in developing young players in Licensed Training Centres.

4. In accordance with Section 1 of the Guidelines, Unions may operate or allow Rugby Bodies or Clubs within their jurisdiction, to operate Licensed Training Centres. If a Union, Rugby Body or Club operates a Licensed Training Centre then the Union within which that Licensed Training Centre is established may allow the Licensed Training Centre to register players as Associate Players, provided such players receive regular and frequent coaching and training services through that Licensed Training Centre.

5. Subject to the regulations of the Union in which the Licensed Training Centre is situated, the Licensed Training Centre (for and on behalf of the Union, Rugby Body or Club who is Licensed to run the Licensed Training Centre) shall hold the Associate Player’s registration. By retaining an Associate Player’s registration, Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs who operate Licensed Training Centres will be able to preserve a right to claim compensation in respect of the financial investment made in that player’s training and development.

6. Compensation for the investment made in Associate Players may be payable whether the player is transferred before acquiring the status of a Contract Player or if his registration should be transferred while he is still an Associate Player. Any compensation payable in such circumstances should reflect, and be based on the factors set out in paragraph 13 of Section 3 of these Guidelines, in particular, the actual investment made by a Union, Rugby Body or Club in a player registered with a Licensed Training Centre. This will include the quality, regularity/frequency of training and coaching received.   

7. The Licensed Training Centre registration scheme for Associate Players is designed to provide an incentive to improve the training and development of young players. Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs who operate Licensed Training Centres will know that they are likely to receive an equitable reward for their youth development activities either in the form of that player’s services or, should the player move whilst registered as an Associate Player in a Licensed Training Centre, compensation for the training and development of that player.

C. Prohibitions

8. Equally important to encouraging the development of young players throughout the world, raising standards and broadening the Game’s playing base in all Unions, is the agreement of all Unions, their members and their constituents to accept and apply this Protocol.

9. An essential component of the Protocol is the prohibition on the unauthorized approach to and/or “poaching” of young players either within a Union and/or between Unions.

10. Unions (and/or their members) who make unauthorised approaches to young players and/or poach or attempt to poach young players shall be subject to sanction.

11. This Protocol requires Unions to impose appropriate sanctions on their members who make any unauthorised approaches to young players and/or poach or attempt to poach young players either within a Union or between Unions. Unions who fail to impose sanctions on members or constituents who fail to adhere to the Protocol and the spirit of the Protocol render themselves liable to sanctions.

12. In order to take advantage of the Associate Player scheme it is necessary for Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs, as the case may be, to invest in effective training and development programmes. World Rugby believes that Licensed Training Centres and the Associate Player compensatory scheme provides the appropriate mechanism to protect the interests of Unions, Rugby Bodies, Clubs and players. It will allow the monitoring of a player’s progress and the protection of his broader educational interests whilst providing an appropriate degree of control over youth development to be exercised at Union level.

D. The Training and Development Bargain

13.  Unions must ensure that Licensed Training Centres are properly structured and offer players a meaningful opportunity to develop their skills. Unions must impose and enforce licensing conditions on Licensed Training Centres that require the highest ethical and playing standards to be applied and the Fundamental Requirements set out in Section 1 maintained.

14. If the benefits to a player (for example, in terms of regular/frequent good quality coaching and training activities) cannot be demonstrated, then there is a risk that provisions designed to protect the investment made by Unions, Rugby Bodies or Clubs in that young player’s training and development will be by-passed or deemed unenforceable. It is necessary, therefore, to demonstrate that there is, in effect, a discernible “bargain” between the Associate Player and the Union, Rugby Body or Club operating the Licensed Training Centre in question.

15. The Union, Rugby Body or Club provides “consideration” through the Licensed Training Centres in the form of regular/frequent training, coaching, practice matches, provision of medical care and related matters (all of which protect the Player’s health and welfare whilst maximising an Associate Player’s potential to take up the Game professionally). The Associate player commits himself “contractually” to the Licensed Training Centre via his registration as an Associate Player.

16. When dealing with minors it is necessary to ensure that all arrangements, in particular, contractual/registration arrangements which, through a Licensed Training Centre, tie an Associate Player to a Union, Rugby Body or Club, are framed and seen to work for the player’s benefit. If not, such arrangements may be voidable and are unlikely to be accepted by the players, parents (legal guardians), schools or colleges.

17. World Rugby considers that Licensed Training Centres, properly regulated by Unions, that apply high standards of coaching and training and provide other benefits to young players, including educational support, will attract a growing number of new participants and, by rewarding investment in training and coaching of young players, encourage greater youth development activity.

18. World Rugby shall, with the assistance Unions, monitor the operation of Licensed Training Centres and the Associate Player scheme to assess its effectiveness in meeting World Rugby objectives. World Rugby may issue further Guidelines or vary, revoke or supplement the above from time to time.

SECTION 3.             COMPENSATION FOR THE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG PLAYERS

1. The Guidelines set out below have been developed to encourage Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs to invest in the development of young players and To help ensure that Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs, as the case may be, are properly compensated for their investment in the future of the game.

2. As part of their general youth development activities Unions should develop centrally administered licensing schemes for Training Centres. Such licensing schemes must, as a minimum requirement, ensure that there is compliance with the Fundamental Requirements set out in Section 1 of the Guidelines. For young players who receive regular/frequent coaching and training services in a Licensed Training Centre, Unions should establish an “Associate Player” scheme. Licensed Training Centres should be allowed, through their Union’s central registration programme, to register young players who are receiving regular training and/or coaching services in Licensed Training Centres as Associate Players.

3. Under an Associate Player scheme, players over the age of 16, but under the age of majority, who are receiving regular/frequent training and/or coaching services in a Licensed Training Centre, may be registered in that Licensed Training Centre as an Associate Player.

4.  Unions should develop a standard Associate Player Registration Form for use by Licensed Training Centres within their jurisdiction. This form must be signed by the player, the players’ parent(s) (or person with parental responsibility) and the player’s head teacher or equivalent person with overall responsibility for the player’s education. All the parties must agree before a player acquires the status of an Associate Player. The form must set out, as clearly as possible, the relevant regulations, governing Associate Players and the obligations on both the player and the Licensed Training Centre.

5. Each Union should prescribe a maximum number of Associate Players that a Licensed Training Centre may register, the recommended number being 30 (although this number may be exceeded at the discretion of a Union where, for example, a Union has only one Licensed Training Centre within its Jurisdiction.)

6. If a player signs and is registered as an Associate Player with a Licensed Training Centre he shall not be entitled to become an Associate Player with another Licensed Training Centre (and/or be registered to play or train with a Union, Rugby Body or Club in any other capacity), unless the Licensed Training Centre to which he is currently registered agrees in writing.

7. Associate Players’ registrations will only be valid for one calendar year from the date the Associate Player Registration Form was signed and the player was registered, unless the Licensed Training Centre elects to retain the Associate Player’s registration for a further calendar year or, in the case of a player who has reached the age of majority (or will do so within 6 months), the Associate Player has been offered a contract by the Union, Rugby Body or Club operating the Licensed Training Centre, pursuant to which he will receive Material Benefit.

8. Subject to paragraph 7 above, an Associate Player’s registration will expire one calendar year from the date he signed the Associate Player Registration Form and was registered as an Associate Player. After this calendar year has expired the player may join another Licensed Training Centre as an Associate Player or be registered with a Union, Rugby Body or Club in another capacity.

9. An Associate Player who is registered with a Licensed Training Centre shall be entitled, at any time, to apply to the Licensed Training Centre for cancellation of his registration as an Associate Player. In the event of such an application, an Associate Player cannot be registered with a Licensed Training Centre (and may not be registered with or play or train for a Union Rugby Body or Club for a period of 6 months from the date of the application), except with the consent of the Licensed Training Centre with which he was registered as an Associate Player, and/or on payment of compensation to that Licensed Training Centre by the Licensed Training Centre, Union, Rugby Body or Club for whom the player wishes to register. If an Associate Player believes that the Licensed Trai ning Centre that he is registered with is in breach of its obligations and/or failing to provide appropriate training and development activities, the Associate Player may apply to the Union that licenses the Centre in question and request that his registration be cancelled. The Union should undertake an investigation into such application and, where appropriate, refer the matter to its relevant body for adjudication.

10. If an Associate Player’s registration is transferred from one Licensed Training Centre to another, or the player is registered with a Union, Rugby Body or Club in another capacity, the Union, Rugby Body or Club responsible for funding/operating the Licensed Training Centre, at which the player received regular training and coaching services and was registered as an Associate Player, is entitled to make a claim for compensation for the training and development of the Associate Player. When the Union, Rugby Body or Club responsible for the operation of a Licensed Training Centre believes that it is entitled to compensation then the Union, Rugby Body or Club, as the case may be, must complete a standard form setting out the basis of the claim and submit it to the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club. It should then seek to agree the amount of compensation as soon as possible.

11. Associate Players approaching or attaining majority may, where appropriate, be offered a contract pursuant to which he will receive Material Benefit, and sign as Contract Players, with the Union, Rugby Body or Club operating the Licensed Training Centre. Such offers may only be made within the 6 months before the player acquires the age of majority. If the Associate Player rejects the offer to become a Contract Player with the Union, Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) that operated the Licensed Training Centre that he is registered with as an Associate Player (and in which he received his training/coaching services) then, if that player elects to move to another Union, Rugby Body or Club as a Contract Player within 12 months from the date of the offer made through the Licensed Training Centre with which he is registered as an Associate Player the Union, Rugby Body or Club that funded/operated the Licensed Training Centre shall be entitled to claim compensation for that Associate Player’s training and development.

12. The amount of compensation, if any, payable pursuant to paragraphs 9, 10 or 11 above shall be agreed between the relevant parties. If no agreement can be reached between the relevant parties within 28 days from the request for compensation, the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club having jurisdiction over and/or responsible for the funding of the Licensed Training Centre(s) should refer the matter to the body designated by the Union or World Rugby (as the case may be) who shall set the appropriate level of compensation, if any, for that player’s training and development.

13. If a dispute over the payment of compensation for the registration of an Associate Player arises and such dispute is between Licensed Training Centres or Rugby Bodies or Clubs within the Jurisdiction of one Union, then the dispute should be dealt with by that Union having Jurisdiction over those Licensed Training Centre(s), Rugby Bodies or Clubs. If the dispute concerns Licensed Training Centres or Rugby Bodies or Clubs in different Unions then the matter shall be adjudicated on by the CEO or his designee(s). The CEO or his designee(s) shall be entitled to regulate its own procedures provided the parties are allowed to make representations and have a reasonable opportunity to present their case. For the avoidance of any doubt, any dispute over the payment of compensation for the training and development of an Associate Player shall not prevent that player from moving, subject to paragraph 9 above, and/or where that player is in breach of the Associate Player regulations.

14. In determining the amount of compensation, if any, in respect of an Associate Player’s training and development the following factors shall be taken into account:

(a) Actual training costs in relation to the player incurred by the relevant Union, Rugby Body or Club operating the Licensed Training Centre during the period of the player’s registration with the Licensed Training Centre. Training costs shall include, but not be limited to:

(i) proportionate salary or compensation paid to coaches;

(ii) board and lodging;

(iii) proportionate costs of training infrastructure (for example, hire of facilities, equipment);

(b) Medical costs expended on the player;

(c) Non-rugby related expenditure in respect of a player provided by the Licensed Training Centre (for example, schooling and academic expenses);

(d) Other general costs that can be attributed, either in full or in part, to the player’s rugby education, training and development.

(e) National Representative Team appearances of the player (at all age levels);

(f) Age of the player; and

(g) Length of time the player trained in the Licensed Training Centre.

15. In the event that a Licensed Training Centre(s) and/or Union, Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) are dissatisfied with the ruling on compensation when an Associate Player moves from one Union to another Union, then that body may appeal provided such appeal is received by the CEO within 14 days of the decision of the original decision by the CEO or his designee being communicated to the parties. The CEO may refer the appeal to an adjudicatory body made up of Appeal Panel Members who shall be responsible for regulating the procedure adopted on such an appeal, provided that the relevant parties are given a reasonable opportunity to make representations and present their case. The decision of that adjudicatory body shall be final and binding on the parties.

EXPLANATORY NOTE.  REGULATIONS GOVERNING PLAYER STATUS AND PLAYER MOVEMENT

Introduction

World Rugby is committed to attracting new Players to the Game and raising playing standards at all levels and in all member Unions. It is of fundamental importance to the future growth and development of the Game that all Member Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs are enabled and encouraged to attract new generations of Players to the Game within their own jurisdiction. In order to promote this development, encourage both mature and emerging Unions to identify, train and develop Rugby Players, World Rugby has agreed Regulations governing international Player movement. Regulation 4 is intended to:

(a) Encourage Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs at all levels to identify and develop young Players;

(b) Broaden the Game's playing base in all Unions;

(c) Ensure appropriate compensation in the event of players developed within one Union moving to play in another Union;

(d) Promote stability and facilitate the monitoring of international Player movement;

(e) Create an effective mechanism to redistribute resources throughout the Game;

(f) Identify the principles which Unions are encouraged to follow when introducing and/or developing their domestic intra-Union player movement, training and development compensation schemes.

Ambit of this Explanatory Note

Regulation 4 incorporates a compensation scheme that provides in certain circumstances for the payment of compensation to reflect the investment in the training and development of Rugby Players.

International

This Explanatory Note (and the forms appended to it) have been prepared for use by Unions (and their members) to explain the mechanics of Regulation 4, in particular the compensation scheme, and to assist in the introduction and the ongoing implementation of Regulation 4.

Domestic

Regulation 4 relates, principally, to the movement of Players between Unions; however, for that to be fully effective an appropriate domestic set of rules is also required. Thus Regulation 4.3 requires:

(a) Each Union to provide appropriate regulations for the movement of players within their jurisdiction. Unions are responsible for ensuring that their members are properly informed about the way in which Regulation 4 operates and are responsible for introducing internal player movement regulations based on the principles within Regulation 4 that properly reward their constituents for their player identification, training and development activities.

(b) Each Union to register, thereafter, its regulations with World Rugby. World Rugby considers that the principles enshrined in the compensation system within Regulation 4 are appropriate to achieve the vital objectives of encouraging and providing compensation for the identification, training and development of young players, and that as such they represent best practice. Accordingly, the regulations of Unions for the movement of players are expected, as far as reasonably practical, to incorporate the principles of compensation set out in Regulation 4. World Rugby may monitor the player movement regulations of Unions to verify that the regulations proposed by Unions are appropriate and that the compensation mechanism substantially complies with the principles of Regulation 4. It is essential that all Unions in membership of World Rugby recognise the important role that they have to play in the effective implementation of Regulation 4. This Explanatory Note should not be read in isolation. The Explanatory Note is not a substitute for the Regulation and must be read in conjunction with Regulation 4.

1. Determining a Player's Status

1.1 The status of a Player is a key factor in determining whether any compensation for his training and development is payable.

1.2 Under Regulation 4 there are two categories of Player Contract and Non-Contract Players. A Player is a Contract Player if he is currently receiving, or has previously received Material Benefit. All other Players are Non-Contract Players.[9]

1.3 A Contract Player must have or have had a written agreement with his Club, Union or other Rugby Body that pays him Material Benefits.

1.4 Each Union must develop standard form written agreements for use by itself or its Clubs and Rugby Bodies, (as appropriate) and Players within their jurisdiction.[10]

1.5 Each Club or Rugby Body must submit copies of all written agreements with Players to its Union.

2. Obtaining a Clearance

2.1 Under Regulation 4 a Clearance system will continue to be operated by World Rugby. Any Player leaving his Current Union will not be eligible to participate in competitions organised, recognised or sanctioned by a New Union unless he has received a Clearance to do so.

2.2 Clearances will only be accepted in the standard form set out in Appendix 1 and signed by the appropriate parties.

2.3 Where the Contract Player has not been registered with his current Union for a period of 12 months or more, then the current Union shall specify on the Clearance the period of rest the Contract Player has obtained during the period for which the Contract Player was with the current Union. “Rest” for the purposes of the Clearance shall mean the period during which the Contract Player did not participate in any Match(es) and shall not include injury periods.

2.4 A Clearance is not provisional in nature. It remains valid pursuant to Regulation 4 until it is replaced by a subsequent Clearance.

3. The Significance of Existing Written Agreements

3.1 Regulation 4 distinguishes between the movement of Players during the course of a written agreement, and the movement of Players who are either Non-Contract Players or Contract Players whose written agreement has expired.

3.2 A Contract Player may only move to another Union, Rugby Body or Club during the period of a written agreement if his existing Union, Rugby Body or Club, the Union, Rugby Body or Club he is proposing to join and the Player concur.

4. The principles of Compensation for Training and Development

4.1 In recognition of the investment made by Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs (as the case may be) in the training and development of Rugby Players, Regulation 4 provides that, in certain circumstances, compensation for the investment in a Player's training and development may be payable in respect of Non-Contract Players or Contract Players whose written agreement has expired.

4.2 The trigger for a compensation claim is the movement of a Player for the first time outside of his Home Union (i.e. the Union with which the Player is, or was first Registered or, if different, the Union where a Player was trained or developed).

4.3 Under Regulation 4 compensation is only payable when a Player moves outside of his Home Union for the first time and enters into a written agreement, either immediately or within 3 years, to play rugby in another Union.

4.4 Compensation is based on the Standard Annual Development Investment representing the investment that a Union, Rugby Body or Club can demonstrate has been made in a Player's training and development and the other factors set out in Regulation 4.7.5.

4.5 In effect, a Union, Rugby Body or Club should be properly reimbursed for its “research and development” efforts in respect of Players. It is essential, therefore, that appropriate records of a Player's progress are maintained.

4.6 The quality of training and development invested in a Player will not only improve that Player's prospects of playing the Game full time it will also raise playing standards in general.

4.7 The compensation scheme should provide an incentive for all Unions, Rugby Bodies and Clubs to increase and improve their training and development programmes with appropriate support from their Unions and World Rugby.[11]

5. When can Compensation be Claimed?

5.1 The Union, and/or Rugby Body and/or Club who trained and developed a Player is entitled to claim compensation on the transfer of a Player's registration in the following circumstances only:

5.1.1 when a Contract Player, whose written agreement has expired, enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union (Regulation 4.7.2(a));

5.1.2 when a Non-contract Player enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union (Regulation 4.7.2(b));

5.1.3 if a Contract Player does not enter into a written agreement immediately, but enters into a written agreement outside his Home Union within 3 years of the date on which he competed in his last match as a Contract Player in his Home Union (Regulation 4.8.2);

5.1.4 if a Non-Contract Player does not enter a written agreement immediately, but enters into a written agreement for the first time with a Union, Rugby Body or Club outside his Home Union, within 3 years of the date on which he moved outside his Home Union, (Regulation 4.8.3).

6. How should Compensation be Claimed?

6.1 When a Union, Rugby Body or Club believes that it is entitled to compensation under Regulation 4 then the Union, Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) must:

6.1.1 Complete the World Rugby Player Movement Compensation Claim Form in full (see Appendix 3). The form must be certified.

6.1.2 Send the fully completed and certified form, to the Union, Rugby Body or Club to whom the Player proposes to move.

6.1.3 Seek to agree the amount of compensation payable as soon as possible.

6.2 If the amount of compensation, if any, cannot be agreed between the relevant parties within 28 days of Clearance having been given to a Player, one of the Unions involved may refer the matter to World Rugby. (If the dispute involves a Rugby Body or Club then the Rugby Body or Club (as the case may be) should refer the matter to their Union and ask that the Union refer the matter to World Rugby.)[12]

6.3 An independent expert(s) shall consider the case promptly and determine the amount of compensation payable, if any. The independent expert(s) will regulate the procedure on such a referral and may elect to deal with the case on the basis of written representations alone. NB. The original World Rugby Player Movement Compensation Claim Form, (see 8(a)(i) above) must, be submitted in evidence to the independent expert(s) in all cases.

7. How is Compensation Calculated?

7.1 Compensation is calculated using the formula in Regulation 4.7.4.

7.2 The actual amounts payable at the conclusion of each development year, pursuant to the calculation of Figure 1 in Regulation 4.7.4, are shown in the Figure 2 below: Compensation payable (£) at age of transfer relative to the number of years involved in High Performance development programmes.

Where a Player transfers during a development year, the amount of compensation payable will be pro-rated by month.

Illustration 1:

Joe Smith transfers from Union A to Union B at the age of 22, having been in Union A’s High Performance development program since he was 17 (five years). Union B must pay development compensation to Union A of £25,000:

Compensation    =           £5,000 x 5 years
                         =           £25,000

Illustration 2:

If the Player in Illustration 1 stayed with Union A, before transferring from Union A to Union B at the age of 27, then no compensation would be payable to compensate for his development. This is because his age at transfer is over 23.

Illustration 3:

John Jones enters Union C’s High Performance development program aged 19 and transfers to Union D after just one year, aged 20. Union D must pay development compensation to Union C of £5,000:

Compensation    =           £5,000 x 1 year
                         =           £5,000

Illustration 4:

If the player in illustration 3 stayed in Union C’s development program, before transferring to Union D midway through his fourth year, the compensation payable would instead be:

Compensation    =           £5,000 x 3 & 6/12 years
                         =           £17,500

Illustration 5:

Paul Williams enters Union E’s High Performance development program aged 18 and completes two full years. He then withdraws from the program for personal reasons, three-quarters of the way into his third year and subsequently misses the fourth year. He re-enters the program in his fifth year, before transferring to Union F after six months, aged 22. The compensation payable from Union F to Union E is:

Compensation    =           £5,000 x [(2 & 9/12)+(0 & 6/12)]
                         =           £5,000 x 3.25
                         =           £16,250

Illustration 6:

If the Player in illustration 5 did not re-enter the development program, and was thus a non-contract Player at the time of transfer, the compensation payable from Union F to Union E would be:

Compensation    =           £5,000 x 2.75
                         =           £13,750

8. Payment

Once compensation has been agreed between the relevant parties, monies shall be paid by the Player's New Union, Rugby Body or Club to the Players Home Union. Each Union shall be entitled to distribute such monies to Rugby Bodies and Clubs in its membership as it sees fit.[13]

9. Enforcement

When a Rugby Body or Club is required to pay compensation for a Player's training and development (or is ordered to do so) the Union to which the Rugby Body or Club is affiliated, in the event of default by the Rugby Body or Club is liable for the payment of the compensation as

 

[1]  In respect of the lowest levels of its competitive structure only, a Union or Association may make a written application to the CEO for approval not to apply Regulation 4.5.6. A Union or Association must set out, in full, the reasons for the application and shall provide such further information. Documents and/or any other assistance that the CEO may deem necessary for the proper consideration of the application. The CEO shall have absolute discretion in relation to the approval or refusal of any such application by a Union or Association and the decision of the CEO, including, but not limited to any conditions of approval, shall be final and binding. The CEO may at his absolute discretion withdraw any approval granted to any Union or Association pursuant to this provision. For the avoidance of doubt, any application made pursuant to this provision shall only be considered by the CEO if it relates to the lowest levels of a Union or Association’s competitive structures.

Disputes arising out of Regulation 4 will, preferably, be adjudicated on by member(s) of the Judicial Panel who are experienced in player issues, including but not limited to training and development, and may include eminent ex-players.

[2]  NB: An attempt has been made to define Student and Servicemen narrowly.  Operational experience will demonstrate whether further refinement to these Regulations is necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of this amendment.

[3]  Consideration may need to be given to imposing a limitation on the number of times a Player may apply for Dual Registration.  In practice this may present difficulties due to the length of degree courses and uncertainty with regard to Servicemen’s tours of duty.

[4]  To assist the Unions World Rugby may issue guidelines to Unions on the development and registration of young players.

[5]  Clearance means the written consent (in the standard form) authorizing a Player to participate in the Game in a New Union at the request of such New Union and signed by:

(a)    the Player’s Current Union;

(b)    the Union for whom the Player plays International Matches where such Player has represented that Union in a Match covered by Regulation 8.3 or 8.4; and

(c)     the New Union.

[6]  The level of Standard Annual Development Investment is subject to annual review of the Regulations Committee.

[7]  Contracted Person means any of the following: Head Coach, Assistant Coach (including Forwards and Backs Coaches), Attack Coach, Defence Coach, Director of Rugby.

[8] Unions should note, however, that only players properly registered as Associate Players in Licensed Training Centres will be covered by the Compensation Scheme set out in section 3 of these Guidelines

[9]  Players may not enter into written agreements until they have reached the age of contractual majority within the relevant jurisdiction. However, there is an exception for Players over 16 if the Material Benefit received by the Player under the written agreement takes the form of a non-refundable financial grant to be applied only for the purposes of the Player's academic and/or vocational training for a period of twelve months or longer. Each Union should establish its own regulations relating to the registration and development of young Players. Such regulations should provide that the relevant body responsible for the training and development of the player has the first option on a Player's professional services when he acquires the age of majority. World Rugby may issue guidelines to assist this process.

[10]  Standardisation of Player written agreements serves a number of different purposes. The Union's and World Rugby's Regulations are expressly accepted by all Players, Rugby Bodies and Clubs. In addition, Unions can maintain a centralised register of Contract Players in order to monitor Player movement and identify the status of a Player at any given time, thereby easing the administration of Regulation 4. It will also assist Unions to apply internal compensation systems incorporating the principles and policies set out in Regulation 4.

[11] The general principles of international Player movement are illustrated diagrammatically in Appendix 2.

[12] Unions should provide appropriate bodies to adjudicate on disputes between their own constituents over compensation payable when a player moves within that Union. Preferably, those making the decisions should be players with experience in player development issues.

[13] This centralised system is designed to allow Unions to determine how funds should be allocated out of any compensation payment. It recognises the different structure of Rugby in different Unions and allow Unions to agree appropriate arrangements with their constituent members bodies.