Paying Players in the Community game – Update
1 March 2017
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At the February RFU Council meeting we received an update on the Payment of Players proposals. You can read the document by clicking here but in brief the update has recommendations in four areas:
- The financial ranges for payments at certain levels of the game
- Content of the annual declaration
- Regulatory principles to implement proposals
- Loss of entitlements for non-compliance with regulations
The recommendation for the financial thresholds at the various levels is that they should remain the same, but there is an allowance for player/coaches, so at Level 3 an additional £25k can be spent on a player coach, £20k at Level 4 and £15k at Level 5. At Level 6 and below the amount is £10k.
The annual declaration has an extra clause to allow the RFU to request financial or tax documentation and it clarifies that the four club officials who will sign it are the Chairman, President, Treasurer and Hon Secretary. This has been criticised in some quarters as unenforceable but as a contributor to a debate on Facebook said: ‘(A false declaration) will require clubs presenting dishonest financial returns and if it suits some will, but to get away with it they will have to defraud the RFU, the Tax Office and their members’. I think there would be few officials that would want to risk their own or their club’s reputation let alone the sanctions that would follow.
The funding entitlements that clubs that pay higher than the prescribed thresholds would lose have been added to. In my previous article I said that although clubs at Level 6 and below probably would feel some financial pain, those playing at Level 3 to 5 would probably not be very inconvenienced unless they wanted financial help with a facility upgrade.
However, the original list that included travel funding, the supplemental ticket funds and new RFU loans and grants have been added to:
- Existing interest-free loans will be converted into interest-bearing loans
- Previously awarded grants may be subject to a clawback if a club start to pay players above the permitted limits
- Clubs at Levels 3 and 4 will lose the RFU subsidy for Match Officials costs, the effect of which is reckoned to be between £7k and £10k per club
The recommendations stopped short of withdrawing insurance cover and entitlement to international tickets, but the amounts are beginning to be more significant.
You can read the document by clicking here but as ever please feel free to share your comments via the comment button or on Facebook.