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Payment of Players Implementation

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