SDR 4.1: Player Status and Player Contracts

1. The Scottish Rugby Union (“Scottish Rugby”) acknowledges that it is obliged to comply with those Regulations Relating to the Game issued from time to time by World Rugby (WR). 

2. Scottish Rugby recognises that World Rugby has issued a specific Regulation in respect of the Player Status, Player Contracts and Player Movement (WR Regulation 4). The Scottish Rugby Board (the “Board”) has adopted WR Regulation 4 within Scottish Rugby’s own domestic regulations.

3. The Domestic Regulation set out below relates to the Player Status and Player Contracts within Scottish Rugby’s area of jurisdiction. All those within Scottish Rugby’s jurisdiction are required to comply with this Regulation.

Player Status and Contracts

4. The game of rugby football is open to all and players may receive Material Benefit (as herein described) in return for playing, always providing the terms of WR Regulation 4 and SDR 4.1 have been complied with.

5. No player may receive Material Benefit for their participation in the game in Scotland unless the contract to provide such benefit has first been approved by Scottish Rugby.

6. As a minimum any contract to provide Material Benefit for playing must:

(i) be in writing;

(ii) clearly set out the duties and obligations of both parties;

(iii) be for a defined period; and

(iv) be signed by both the employing Club and the player.

7. Players in receipt of Material Benefit under a contract approved by Scottish Rugby shall be regarded as being Scottish Contract Players.

Provision of Material Benefits

Definition of Benefit

8. The definition of Benefit shall be as follows:

money, consideration, gifts or any other benefits whatsoever promised or given to a player or any other individual, body corporate, partnership (or any other entity or body whether incorporated or not) at his direction in respect of such player’s participation in the Game, but shall not include bona fide reimbursement of expenses incurred for reasonable travel, accommodation, subsistence or other expenses incurred solely and directly in relation to the Game

Materiality Level

9. Where the aggregate value of Benefits provided in any 12 month period exceeds (or is expected to exceed) £12,000 then the amount shall be considered to be “material” and the player shall be regarded as being in receipt of Material Benefits.

Expenses to be included in calculation

10. For the purposes of this Regulation, and in addition to any salary, match fee, bonus payment or the like, the following expenses must be included in the calculation of relevant Benefits:

10.1 Overseas Travel: Return airfares (or similar) associated with bringing a player and his dependants (where relevant) into the country;

10.2 Accommodation and Living Expenses: The provision of any accommodation (other than occasional accommodation associated with attendance at away fixtures) and any related living expenses (utility bills, Council Tax, etc.);

10.3 Motor Vehicle: The cost associated with providing a player with the use of a motor vehicle including, where applicable, the running costs thereof.

11. Where there is no actual cost to the employer of providing the Benefit, or the Benefit is provided at a cost below the market rate (courtesy of a sponsor, benefactor or otherwise), a notional market value must be substituted in the calculation as to whether the aggregate Benefits are to be considered Material.

Expenses which may be excluded

12. For the purposes of this Regulation the following expenses shall be disregarded in the calculation of Material Benefit:

12.1 Internal Travel: Standard class rail travel, taxi fares and similar receipted travel expenses incurred in respect of necessary travel to and from matches and squad sessions;

12.2 Mileage: A mileage allowance, based on the HMRC rates, paid in relation to necessary and verifiable travel to and from matches and squad sessions;

12.3 Meals: up to £15 per calendar day reimbursed to cover the actual cost of food when travelling to and from matches or squad sessions, but only where the total duration involved (travel time plus the session/match, etc.) is greater than 5 hours and catering is not otherwise provided; and

12.4 Accommodation:Provision of occasional accommodation associated with actual attendance at away fixtures.

12.5 Playing and Training Kit: Provision of playing and training kit for the personal use of the player.

Young Players

13. Whilst the game of rugby football is “open”, Scottish Rugby considers that it has a special duty of care in respect of young players. In this regard:

13.1 U16 Players:  Contracts to provide Material Benefits shall not be offered to players under the age of 16. Educational support payments may be provided providing that they form part of a written agreement and:

(i) The player is free to terminate the agreement on not more than 30 days notice;

(ii) In addition to the club and the player, the agreement is signed by the player’s parent / guardian; and

(iii) The agreement has been approved in advance by Scottish Rugby.

13.2 16 and 17 Year Olds: Where a contract to provide Material Benefits is offered to a player aged either 16 or 17 then, other than in exceptional circumstances, the agreement shall additionally signed by the player’s parent / guardian.

Recording of Payments and Benefits

14. Payments in return for playing services (wages, salary, match fee, performance bonus, etc.) may only be made by a player’s club and may not be made on behalf of the club by any third party. All such player payments, irrespective of materiality, shall be fully and accurately recorded in the club’s accounting records.

15. Material Benefits provided by the club shall be fully and accurately recorded within the club’s accounting records. Where a third party provides any Material Benefit in return for a player’s participation for a club:

(i) the provision of the Material Benefit shall first be approved on behalf the club by the Club Committee;

(ii) a detailed record of any Material Benefit so provided shall be maintained; and

(iii) the club shall account for any taxable benefit arising.

16. Expenses paid to players shall be supported by written expense claims which shall form part of the club’s accounting records.

17. The club shall account for PAYE, NI and any other applicable taxation in accordance with the regulations issued from time to time by HMRC.

Approaches to Scottish Contract Players

18. No club may directly or indirectly approach any Scottish Contract Player to induce or attempt to induce such player to leave his club unless such approach is made in the final six months of the term of that player’s contract.

Disciplinary Matters

19. Failure to comply with the Regulation shall be an offence subject to potential misconduct proceedings. Such misconduct proceeding shall be separate and in addition to any process conducted in respect of the National Competition Rules.

20. Any disciplinary procedures arising under the Regulation shall be conducted in accordance with the Misconduct procedures set out within Scottish Rugby’s Rules for Disciplinary Procedures.