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Payment of Players implementation

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Maroon View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 20:51
Community Game Update - Document sent out by RFU.

All clubs should have received this today.


Welcome to the latest Community Game Update
21 June 2017



Payment of Players implementation
In April the RFU Council approved the recommendations on payment of players.

The purpose of this communication is to provide an update on the payment of player proposals, the payment thresholds that were agreed and the timescales for when the changes will come into effect. This is to help clubs understand the timescales for implementation and to assist their planning in advance of the mandatory introduction of the proposals.

The RFU has determined that payments for playing rugby in the Community Game are having a detrimental effect on the ethos of the game and the development of some clubs. Consequently it believes that clubs should be encouraged to limit payments at levels 3-5 with those clubs at Level 6 and below discouraged from making any payments; and it has agreed to introduce measures for those clubs who choose to pay more than the guideline amounts and who choose to pay anything at Level 6 and below. The RFU Council therefore agreed the following principles:

  1. Guidance amounts to be set for maximum payments at Levels 3, 4 and 5 with payments at Level 6 and below at zero (with the exception of one player coach)
  2. Clubs will be free to exceed the maximum payments at Levels 3 to 5 and to still pay players at level 6 and below however in doing so will render them ineligible for RFU funding support.
  3. Clubs will be required to submit an accurate completed annual declaration stating whether they make payments to players and if so to what extent. 

The financial thresholds have been defined for gross payments to male players in the RFU Leagues at Level 3 and below.

Please see below the financial thresholds that will come into effect in season 2019/20:

Payment of players financial thresholds

  1. Men’s Level 3 - £275,000 to include the payment of player coaches save that only £12,500 of the costs of each of the first and second player coaches will be excluded in calculating whether or not the threshold has been exceeded. 
  2. Men’s Level 4 - £157,500 to include the payment of player coaches save that only £10,000 of the costs of each of the first and second player coaches will be excluded in calculating whether or not the threshold has been exceeded. 
  3. Men’s Level 5 - £65,000 to include the payment of player coaches save that only £7,500 of the costs of each of the first and second player coaches will be excluded in calculating whether or not the threshold has been exceeded. 
  4. In respect of Men’s Level 6 and below: Clubs at these levels will be permitted to engage one paid player coach only up to a maximum of £10,000 and no more that 50% of which shall be in respect of his/her playing duties.
Annual declaration
In the 2018-19 season, all clubs with a men’s team playing in the RFU Leagues at Level 3 and below will be required by the regulations to complete and submit a signed declaration each year in which they self-certify whether the club pays players/player coaches and if so, how much.   

Submission of the declaration will be mandatory in the 2018-19 season with the impact of any funding entitlements taking effect in the 2019-20 season. In the meantime, clubs will have the option in the 2017-18 season to complete and submit a declaration. This is designed to aid transition, encourage early understanding within clubs and also offer an opportunity to have declarations voluntarily checked for compliance without impacting on any funding scenarios for clubs.
 
Timeline for roll-out
We set out below a timeline for implementation of the payment of players proposals.

Summer 2017 - Guidance and regulations for approval in 2017/18 season to be worked up alongside finalisation of club declaration

October 2017 - Regulations and policies to be presented to RFU Council

March 2018 - RFU communication to clubs informing them that they can voluntarily complete the declaration and can upload until end of September 2018. There will be no loss of RFU funding support for non-completion of the declaration in the 2017-18 season

July 2018 - RFU communication to the game on the launch of the mandatory declaration and regulations that will come into effect for the 2018-19 season and which will impact RFU funding  in the 2019-20 season.

January 2019 - Communication to the game ahead of the submission of mandatory declarations from 1st April until 31 May 2019

1 April – 31 May 2019 - Window for submission of declarations based on payments made in 2018/19 season

Season 2019/2020 - Implementation begins based on 2018/19 signed declarations For further enquiries please email davestubley@rfu.com


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Cannon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 21:14
What an absolute farce, those in their ivory tower at The Cabbage Patch have far greater issues to worry about than paying players. Why don't they question why fewer players are playing the game now, surely that's a bigger problem!!
Rucks and mauls may bust my balls, but whips and chains excite me!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CalderVale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 21:22
So am I reading this right, Level 6 and below that may employ an experienced coach who no longer plays, cannot be paid? Even if he/she is coaching the next generation at grassroots stars usual young 17-24 year olds who endeavour to be recruited most summers 1 or 2 players to move up the food chain fairly as they are good players then usual return to their grassroots club when coming to the end of their careers. Won't get that expect coaching as the 40 something bloke is consentrating on coaching rather than playing. Or do the club just register him and declare they are a player coach until their 60+, interesting and ways round everything!
Big jump from Level 5 to 4 top club goes up on £65,000 team relegated had £150,000 would need to release players quickly? Or is the RFU financial support not that appetising?
I'm sure this debate could run and run!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 'Hopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 21:54
Unless I have misread this document, there appears to be a large loophole in it. Nowhere does it say that players can't be paid for playing for a club from an outside source?
What if the Hokey Kokey really IS what it's all about?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rabbie Burns Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 22:28
Most of the clubs in level 3 will be working below this amount I would think
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thomas snr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 22:35
another way of ring fencing the Championship.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maroon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2017 at 23:48
Hopper
Unless I have misread this document, there appears to be a large loophole in it. Nowhere does it say that players can't be paid for playing for a club from an outside source?

You have not read misread the document.

However, other documents talk about players receiving "material benefit" for playing and this specifically includes payment by parties other than the club (sponsors, members etc.) as well as payment of air travel and accommodation etc.


“Material Benefit” is defined generically by World Rugby as ‘money, gifts or any other benefits contracted, promised or given to a player by any individual, body corporate, partnership (or any other entity or body whether incorporated or not) at his/her direction in respect of such person’s participation in the Game’.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 373 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 06:09
Originally posted by CalderVale CalderVale wrote:

So am I reading this right, Level 6 and below that may employ an experienced coach who no longer plays, cannot be paid? Even if he/she is coaching the next generation at grassroots stars usual young 17-24 year olds who endeavour to be recruited most summers 1 or 2 players to move up the food chain fairly as they are good players then usual return to their grassroots club when coming to the end of their careers. Won't get that expect coaching as the 40 something bloke is consentrating on coaching rather than playing. Or do the club just register him and declare they are a player coach until their 60+, interesting and ways round everything!
Big jump from Level 5 to 4 top club goes up on £65,000 team relegated had £150,000 would need to release players quickly? Or is the RFU financial support not that appetising?
I'm sure this debate could run and run!

One might think that the word 'Players' suggests that it only covers the playing squad. I assume it's to stop clubs having multiple player 'coaches' in an attempt to circumnavigate the rules.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 'Hopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 08:04
Originally posted by Maroon Maroon wrote:


Hopper
Unless I have misread this document, there appears to be a large loophole in it. Nowhere does it say that players can't be paid for playing for a club from an outside source?

You have not read misread the document.

However, other documents talk about players receiving "material benefit" for playing and this specifically includes payment by parties other than the club (sponsors, members etc.) as well as payment of air travel and accommodation etc.


“Material Benefit” is defined generically by World Rugby as ‘money, gifts or any other benefits contracted, promised or given to a player by any individual, body corporate, partnership (or any other entity or body whether incorporated or not) at his/her direction in respect of such person’s participation in the Game’.

Thanks Maroon. I thought I'd seen it covered in an earlier document. It seems strange that it was omitted from this latest statement.
What if the Hokey Kokey really IS what it's all about?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CalderVale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 08:43
Under table paymemts or loss of players spring to mind, rugby tops up daily wages, I've heard a level 4 player at the time continued to bench / start for a few years more than he possibly should as it paid is mortgage and is Day job sorted other bills. Will people risk injury without receiving a few quid? I understand there is a amount per level where people can continue to get paid as long as club stay below, but if your 24-30 year old and in 12 months time you get asked to reduce what you been earning will this not loss players from the game or retain them - ? For RFU.

Anyway £65,000 squad of 20 paying them for only 8 months is £406.25 = £101.56 which personally not to bad for a couple of Evening and a Saturday, but nowadays I think people are sometimes on a little bit more, get paid all year round or have bigger squads than 20!

These are just old man comments I'm a believer you should be just allowed to do what is best for your club over years not weeks!

Enjoy your pre seasons.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maroon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 10:16
CalderVale wrote:

So am I reading this right, Level 6 and below that may employ an experienced coach who no longer plays, cannot be paid?

No, you are not reading it correctly.

The document is about paying players not about paying coaches.
So, as I read it, a club can pay any number of coaches, providing they are not playing.

If a coach is playing, then certain restrictions come into effect.


In respect of Men’s Level 6 and below: Clubs at these levels will be permitted to engage one paid player coach only up to a maximum of £10,000 and no more that 50% of which shall be in respect of his/her playing duties.

So at level 6 - only 1 player-coach allowed. Maximum payment is £10,000. Minimum payment for coaching duties is £5,000. 

The interesting point for me, is how the RFU will police these regulations.

Regulations already exist regarding payment (e.g. not declaring cash to HMRC, payment by sponsors, jobs dependent on playing for a team etc.) which are routinely flouted. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CalderVale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 10:20
Ok thanks for your comments Maroon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Halliford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 11:22
At least 2 Level 3 Clubs will be breaching the salary cap this season and have said publicly that they will. I think it's important to set this in context, it was largely driven by those who failed to get the AGR changes through, it's not part of the overall Plan that Nigel Melville is trying to drive through, aimed at getting more players playing on Saturday afternoons.

For most Clubs the penalty for breaking the rule will be limited, losing RFU travel contribution and the right to apply to the RFU for grants. Not a big penalty when you are aiming for Level 2. 

I expect a similar rule to come in for Level 2 at some stage, but only once other discussions have taken place and been agreed by Premiership Clubs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 16:24
I may be being stupid but i would think it usual that first team players don't pay membership, get free stash and don't pay match subs while 2nd and lower team players pay membership, pay for kit and pay match sube - usually there are differential access rules for club gyms etc. Under inland revenue rules regarding taxable benefits etc if things are dependant upon your seniority they become taxable benefits (for instance if there are separate Directors and Workers dining rooms). So exactly what are the RFU defining as material benefits as they can soon add up?

Edited by Dad - 22 Jun 2017 at 16:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sid James Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 17:10
Originally posted by Dad Dad wrote:

I may be being stupid but i would think it usual that first team players don't pay membership, get free stash and don't pay match subs while 2nd and lower team players pay membership, pay for kit and pay match sube - usually there are differential access rules for club gyms etc. Under inland revenue rules regarding taxable benefits etc if things are dependant upon your seniority they become taxable benefits (for instance if there are separate Directors and Workers dining rooms). So exactly what are the RFU defining as material benefits as they can soon add up?


A First team players club membership fee should be paid by the player. This could be in the form of money deducted from the players weekly match/retainer payment, at some point early in the season.
Should the club not expect that a First team player be a member of the club he plays for and therefore subject to the same club rules as other players?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote French Connection Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 17:38
As someone who has been involved at the sharp end as a DoR of a National League club that does it the right way for 10 years I can tell you that I and many others are absolutely and totally behind the RFU's proposals.  By "right way" I mean paying tax and NI and being completely open about the fact that a club pays players instead of lying about it.  The strain of small community clubs trying to raise the money to pay players is MASSIVE and has cost many dearly. Anything that can reduce the amount of money that clubs have to pay players HAS to be welcomed. As has been said before, £100 a week for training on 2 evenings a week and playing a game you love isn't too bad, and I can assure you that many in Nat 1 and 2 are on much more than that.  A continuation of the way things are will kill clubs not help them, and for once we should all applaud the much maligned (and many times justifiably so) RFU for trying to do the right thing. A player should be at a club because of the coaching, development opportunities, social aspects and general rugby experience and NOT just because of the money. I cannot tell you how many players I know at this level who really don't think too much at all of the club they're playing for but are there just for the money. I find that desperately sad. As I've said to hundreds of players over the years - there's nothing wrong in playing FOR money, but there's everything wrong in playing BECAUSE of money.
As for the rules as to what constitutes payment and third party "sponsors" giving players envelopes of cash in the local McDonalds - I can assure you that the RFU have communicated to all clubs very, very clearly exactly what constitutes payment, and this is basically absolutely ANYTHING that the player gets from anyone for playing at a club. And I mean virtually everything from anyone.
As for policing it, the proposal involves 3 officials - Chairman, Secretary and Treasure I believe- signing what I believe to be a legal document every year to say that their financial declaration is 100% accurate to their knowledge. If they lie knowing that players are getting something from an outside source they will be in serious and perhaps even legal trouble. Now while everyone in a club's management knows exactly what's going on in terms of paying players, even though some may deny it, I don't think many will want to sign an official document which makes them into a liar. In short, I think it will work and it's about time as well. As I've said, the clubs that are worried are those that have players there for the wrong reasons and have bought success without putting the long term investment and work into it.
Good clubs that have players who love the place, it's values and the way it looks after them will welcome this. It will help the game without doubt.
Rant over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 17:40
No matter how many time I read this it makes no sense, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Methinks the RFU are all creationists.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 18:19
I've got to agree with FHLH, it's a real them and us!! IMHO as long as a club is run financially sound and not to the dtertrement of the rest of the club why can't they pay players? It's a good example of the old farts patting all community clubs on the head and saying "there there you're not good enough to succeed!"

In reply French Connection, unless clubs are deducted large amounts of points there are no deterrents.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 'Hopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 18:57
Originally posted by Cannon Cannon wrote:

I've got to agree with FHLH, it's a real them and us!! IMHO as long as a club is run financially sound and not to the dtertrement of the rest of the club why can't they pay players? It's a good example of the old farts patting all community clubs on the head and saying "there there you're not good enough to succeed!"

In reply French Connection, unless clubs are deducted large amounts of points there are no deterrents.


Or have their International Tickets Allocation snuffed out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote French Connection Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2017 at 20:14
I believe that removing a club's international match ticket allocation is one of the things that will happen if they break the cap - an idea which may make more comply with it. 
I would agree totally that as long as a club is run on a completely sound financial basis that they should be allowed to do so. The problem is twofold:
  • Firstly,what actually does constitute a financially sound basis? Having one or two rich "sponsors" who give say £50k each a year which the club then spend only on players? All legal, above board and sound.........until the sponsors pull out and the club has no money, loses players and goes down the drain as the 2nd team have all left by then? Not sound at all in my opinion. It could be easily argued that the only truly sound, sustainable and long term model is one in which the only revenue a club can depend on is that raised by the gate, the bar takings, functions held at the club and perhaps other fund raising events held by them.  It would be very sound to base your spending on that alone.
  • Secondly, how on earth do the RFU discover which model a club is using? 
As for the argument that implementing the cap will make the rich get richer etc is beyond me. It could well have the opposite effect in that rich clubs with lots of wealthy donors are unable to depend on that alone in order to build a strong team. They may in effect become poorer - and heaven forbid they may actually have to invest in their infrastructure, youth system, and develop their own players...and producing National League level players is a really difficult and long term thing to do. In other words all clubs will have to put something back into the game  - rather than just chucking their money at players who take it out of the game and into their own pockets.
There is of course another solution to this and I am amazed that the RFU haven't considered it. They could implement minimum standards criteria for all National League 1, 2 and 3 clubs ie you can only be promoted to or stay at level 5 and above if you have 3 senior sides turning out regularly, a functioning mini and junior system with side at most levels, your own ground with changing rooms etc (there are some that don't believe it or not) etc. etc. Almost all other sports do this I believe. They may have to give clubs 2 years notice in order to let some get their house in order but that way they'd all be putting something back into the game and investing in it's future. There are many clubs at levels 3,4 and 5 who do this already, but there are also many who do not.  The RFU's logic (and I think it is very logical) is to have a structure in which levels 1 and 2 are professional, but below that there's a sliding scale leading as quickly as possible to amateurism with the money that clubs generate being put back into the game. There are clubs all over the country at levels 6, 7 and 8 chucking ridiculous money around  - it beggars belief and will seriously damage the game if allowed to continue. 
Talk to New Zealanders and they'll tell you how amazed they are at the money being paid by low level clubs over here - it doesn't happen over there and they seem to be doing OK!
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