Whilst for the majority rugby will remain a leisure activity, the game is “open” and players may be paid to play rugby union. World Rugby operates an enhanced regulatory regime with respect to those players who receive payment to play, details of which are set out in WR Regulation 4 Player Status, Player Contracts and Player Movement. Scottish Rugby is obliged to comply with this WR Regulation.
The World Rugby Regulation requires individual Unions to put in place their own domestic regulations with respect to the matters it covers. Scottish Rugby’s rules on Player Status and Player Contracts are set out in Scottish Domestic Regulation 4.1 Player Status and Player Contracts (SDR 4.1).
Under this domestic regulation those players receiving material financial benefit from playing are defined as Scottish Contract Players,and clubs must register any such playing contract.
Scottish Rugby also has rules on Player Movement and these are set out in SDR 4.2 Clearance to Play in Another Union.
All those within the Scottish Rugby Union’s jurisdiction are required to comply with these Regulations.
Clubs: Recruitment of Non-EU Players
Clubs should remember that their ability to recruit non-EU/EEA players is governed by law and that they must check the visa status of any non-EU/EEA citizen they recruit. Whilst Scottish Rugby is not able to provide legal advice on immigration / employment law matters, our general understanding is as follows:
Premiership: For immigration purposes, clubs in the Premiership have the equivalent status to Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors. This means that non-EU/EEA players must have either a UK Ancestry or a Tier 2 / Tier 5 Sporting visa. The Tier 2/5 Sportsman Visa requirements include a track record playing at international or Super Rugby level, and in all cases require completion of a formal Governing Body Endorsement process. Players holding Youth Mobility Scheme, Visitor or Student visas are not entitled to play in the Premiership even on a wholly amateur basis.
Other Leagues and Divisions: Clubs must not pay (e.g. match fees, win bonuses, etc.) or provide material benefits (e.g. subsidised flights, accommodation at a cost to the club, etc.) to any player coming to the UK on a:
Such individuals are not legally entitled to be paid to play sport in the UK. Such players may only play as an amateur for a predominantly amateur club in a predominantly amateur league.
Holders of a EU passport or a UK Ancestry or Spousal Visa may continue to play in any league or division and may be paid and/or employed as appropriate.
We strongly recommend that clubs obtain advice from a suitably qualified expert prior to recruiting any non-EU/EEA player.
The area of Player Status and Player Contracts can be complex. To assist those looking for more information we have prepared a summary of Frequently Asked Questions.
If you can't find the information you're looking for, have a specific query or require assistance please contact please contact Scottish Rugby's Regulatory & Technical Executive, Richard McGhee, at Richard.McGhee@sru.org.ukor 0131 346 5029.