International Transfer Fees? (and poaching)

  • I have read an article the other day about this, now that I want to create a thread about it all I can find is an article on the woeful walesonline referencing a fire-walled Times article.

    England ask World Rugby to help stop Wales and other Celtic nations poaching best young rugby talent

    England's concerns about losing top young talent to the Celtic nations was ramped up on Thursday when Scotland officially appointed three former internationals to the role of talent-spotting Scottish-qualified players south of the border.

    Wales, Ireland and Scotland know there is a much deeper playing pool in England.

    England are to ask World Rugby bosses for help to stop Wales and the other home nations supposedly poach some of the best young players to come through their system.
    The Times report that the Rugby Football Union will make the move to protect the game across the Severn Bridge.

    Scouts from Wales and Ireland are already known to be working within England looking for dual-qualified qualified players, with former Dragons coach Paul Turner employed by the WRU as the head of the Welsh Exiles programme .

    One leading example given by the Times in their story is Wales and Lions back-row powerhouse Ross Moriarty.

    He came through the Gloucester academy and played age-grade rugby for England before electing to follow in the footsteps of his father, Paul, and commit to Wales.

    Currently, the RFU are powerless to stop players of dual nationality switching allegiance to another country.

    However, the Times reports that England are seeking to protect their investments, with the RFU putting more than £4million a year in the development of young players at the 14 club academies.

    Attempting to clampdown on their rugby teenagers, a RFU spokesman told the newspaper: “We are aware that other nations actively scout English players in our academies.

    "We are looking carefully at this, with the clubs who invest in developing these players for the good of English rugby, and we will be discussing this with World Rugby.”

    There is a compensation scheme in place to deal with such issues at the moment - with the package for an English player choosing another nation working out £5,000 per year in development.

    With the development years being classed as between 17 and 23-years-old, the maximum compensation the RFU could receive is £35,000.

    Just how much England received from the WRU over Moriarty is unclear.

    The bolded part. The compensation scheme. What?
    There is compensation paid by unions to other unions for 'poached' players? Since when?

    Or is this a clause in the contracts fo any of the players who attend one of the 14 English club academies? In which case who pays the compensation?

    We can address the eye-watering hypocrisy of the RFU wanting to be compensated for the development of players who then play for a different nation in later posts.

  • I guess the NZRU can send England the bill for Riki Flutey, Dylan Hartley etc?

  • @rapido said in International Transfer Fees? (and poaching):

    England ask World Rugby to help stop Wales and other Celtic nations poaching best young rugby talent

    if true, that's hilarious. The union with the greatest resources having a whine.

  • @antipodean said in International Transfer Fees? (and poaching):

    @rapido said in International Transfer Fees? (and poaching):

    England ask World Rugby to help stop Wales and other Celtic nations poaching best young rugby talent

    if true, that's hilarious. The union with the greatest resources having a whine.

    It is a bit rich isn't it. My take on the RFU's position on this would be that actively recruiting young players is just not the done thing, but if it happens as a natural development over time, "well then old boy that's different".

    I'm not comfortable with the likes of Waldrom, Hughes, Solomona and I AM quite comfortable with the Moriarty case. (Similar in fact to the Underhill situation, just the other way round). However I do dislike the officially sanctioned active recruitment of foreign talent by any union.


    WRU pointing out some of the ridiculous parts of the RFU complaints.

    But the WRU have today questioned these comments.

    They point to the large number of talented young Welsh players that are being lured across the border by free scholarships at English fee-paying schools and colleges - with 19 Welsh qualified players currently at one institution.

    And they stress the vast majority of players they are targeting in England were actually born in Wales and, in many cases, developed here

    .... “It could be seen as a little bit ironic that the RFU should be saying this about us. It works both ways.”

    John says scouts from English clubs and colleges are regularly watching Welsh regional age-grade teams looking for gifted players.

    “We ran a Super Series event at the Arms Park last season, where we had six regional U18s teams - one each from the Blues, Scarlets, Ospreys, Dragons, North Wales and Exiles,” he said.

    “They were squads of 30, so that’s 180 players. “You looked up in the stand and there were all these scouts from England there.

    “They are watching our regional age-grade teams all the time. “There are also teachers here that are linked with English clubs.”

    Welsh youngsters are ending up at schools and colleges like Hartpury, Millfield, Oakham School, Clifton, Rugby School and Filton, which have strong rugby set-ups.

    “For example, there are 19 players at Hartpury who are eligible for Wales,” said John. “Cardiff Blues lost seven players to them from their programme this year.

    “English fee-paying schools and colleges are offering free scholarships to our players. “When you are offered a £35,000-a year private education for free, it’s hard for kids and their parents to say no and we totally understand that.

    “What happens is once players are in the English system, they get picked up by club academies, who often have links with the colleges.

    “The RFU might argue it’s the colleges doing the initial recruitment not them, but they support the club academies which have links with the colleges.

    “The big concern we have is some lads are being discouraged from playing age-grade rugby for Wales by their clubs. “We hear about players being put under pressure to not come and play for us on the basis they might not get contracts in future if they do.

    “There are examples of players having missed out on going to a Junior World Cup as a result - two players have missed out on playing in this competition and gaining a fantastic experience in the last two years.”

    The RFU point to the investment clubs put into players at Academy level and the suggestion is compensation should be paid if Welsh-qualified youngsters are lured away by the WRU.

    One example given in the article is Lions back-rower Ross Moriarty who came through the Gloucester academy and played age-grade rugby for England before electing to follow in the footsteps of his father, Paul, and uncle, Richard, by representing Wales.

    There has been much speculation that Moriarty will move from the Cherry and Whites to the Scarlets at the end of this season in order to remain eligible for Wales under the new 60-cap selection policy. This, presumably, would be the kind of situation where the RFU might argue the case for compensation.

    However, while Moriarty was part of the Gloucester Academy, his rugby education began at Gorseinon RFC and Morriston Comprehensive School in Swansea and he also played for the Ospreys at both U16s and U18s level.

    In John’s view, the picture being laid out by the RFU is only half the story. “They talk about wanting compensation for looking after players from 17 to 21,” he said.

    “But what about what we do with them between 7 and 17? What about all the time and effort we put into them in Welsh rugby?

    “They have recognised them at age of 16 or 17, but they have been recognised because they came through our club and schools system. “Perhaps the compensation system should start at 7 not 17.”

  • I find the idea of a 'transfer fee' or development compensation to be quite attractive actually .

    But the focus on 17 to 23 is a bit random. E.g to highlight some of the absurdity - if that was applied globally then the (E)RFU would be liable to pay 35k pounds for Nathan Hughes. A Fijian who went to an Auckland school on scholarship aged 17. But they would pay 5k to Fiji, 25k to NZRU, and presumably 5k to London Wasps ? ? ? Based on where he spent his 7 years between 17 and 23.

  • This story got legs following an announcement by SRU that they were putting an SQ programme in place headed up by some former players and coaches to identify Scottish players in England or with Scottish parentage. WRU has a similar programme in place.

    The IRFU announced the set up IQ Rugby in May of this year after WR confirmed the extension of residency to 5 years. It’s effectively an extra layer on the existing fifth branch of the IRFU - Exiles - that’s been operating in the UK since the nineties when many Irish players were earning their living from clubs there in particular London Irish.

    I wrote a longish article on this issue a few weeks ago flagging that effectively the foreign player restriction quotas 4+1 are becoming redundant, and that the focus is switching to finding and developing more already IQ players to deepen the domestic pool.

    Signs on it with the announcement a couple of days ago that Racing92 have persuaded Simon Zebo to leave Munster at season end on a reported €650/700k annual contract. Which effectively means Zebo won’t be playing in RWC ‘19 if current policy of not selecting Irish players abroad is kept to. I recognize there’ll be no sympathy down south for any of this, but I suspect that there’ll be a few more Celtic players captured before season end. There’s a certain irony in the FFR pitching its RWC 2023 bid on a platform of curtailing the import and influx of foreign players into the Top14 with WR unions due to vote on the hosting on Nov 15th.

  • @rapido That's a good response from the WRU.

  • By reading a PR thread, which linked a The Scotsman article - I have found the answer to my questions:

    According to World Rugby’s regulation 4 the RFU may have a case to claim compensation from Scottish Rugby. 
    The relevant **regulation 4.7.2 (a) on World Rugby’s website states**: “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 shall be entitled to compensation for his training and/or development.” 
    Chris Harris is not out of contract with Newcastle so, to be sure, we asked World Rugby to rule on a hypothetical player who exactly matched the Falcons’ centre, who remains contracted to Newcastle but, when or if he plays for Scotland, will become unavailable for England despite the RFU injecting something like £250,000 per annum into Newcastle’s academy. 
    **World Rugby replied: “It sounds like they [the RFU] may well have a case [for compensation]** but without the specific details it’s not possible to say for sure.” It would presumably take an RFU request to trigger a World Rugby ruling on the matter and so far that hasn’t occurred but once it does occur it will open up a can of worms, with Unions claiming against Unions the world over.
    **World Rugby defines the ages of development as 17-23 and have stipulated that a maximum fee of £5,000 per player, per annum in development is appropriate**. Harris didn’t join the Falcons’ academy until he was 20 but Murrayfield could still, at least theoretically, be billed £20,000 for the four years he was developed by Newcastle.

    So, it is an IRB regulation. Not a clause in an individual's academy contract.

    The one thing I do like about this - is that the level's are set a compensatory level - rather than a profit making incentive level. Otherwise e.g. Hypothetically an organisation like the FRU could go into a very lucrative side trade of creating a winger academy and sell 2 winger's to each test nation at market value, or a 5 for the price of 4 to the ARU as they have an insatiable appetite for Fijian wingers ..... (although this almost happens at the moment anyway with no compensation or profit .....)

    But, big wow. Never knew this regulation existed, and don't know how long for. Absolutely flabagasted it is the RFU who has made first moves on this rather than poor supplier countries like the FRU, TRU or ZRU - but I supose they don't have the legal budget. But what about the NZRU?

    I've already pointed out up the thread the ridiculousness of the 17-23 age bracket, using Nathan Hughes as an example. Can also apply this to Vaea Fifita, and Fekitoa, and Tamanivalu, Kuridrani, Kerevi, and Tongan Thor

    The "or Club" part highlighted above. Means we aren't just talking about a Hadliegh Parkes after 3 years qualifying for Wales. It means Scarlets should have compensated NZRU 35k when they signed Parkes. But I don't think the NZRU would ever want (or wanted) to stunt the professional career of a Hadleigh Parkes or Nasi Manu etc, however given the stink about Payne and Aki - I think they would have with those two.

    God knows where a Sekope Kepu fits into all this.

  • This explains who Chris Harris is

    one of Scotland’s surprise picks for the autumn internationals.

    Not a balding in-swinger / front pad tripping allrounder.

  • First time I’ve seen the phrase Home Union used in that way. Makes for a refreshing change.

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