Player Payments - 25 June 2020
Rugby clubs in Scotland below the Premiership will no longer be able to pay players from the start of the 2020/21 season.
The Scottish Rugby Council and Board agreed the final draft of a new player payment regulation at their June meetings, completing a process which began at the Union’s 2018 AGM with a request to bring forward proposals to regulate the payment of players.
Following widespread consultation, the Council’s governance committee reported that member clubs believed that financial sustainability and fair competition must be at the heart of community rugby. Their report therefore recommended that from 2020/21 clubs below the Premiership must not pay players or offer players material benefits for playing. A further review of payments within the Premiership is to be conducted during the 2020/21 season.
Under the new regulation clubs may have up to two players in their team who are paid by the club, but only if the payment relates to a non-playing capacity (such as for services as a Development Officer). There must be no link between the payment and playing for the club.
All clubs must also sign up to an Annual Player Payment Declaration as to their compliance with the regulation and provide details of any player payments they do make.
Breaches of the regulation will be treated as Misconduct under Scottish Rugby Disciplinary Rules, which could result in points deductions, fines or expulsion from competitions.
The move to remove player payments from the club game follows the Agenda 3 initiative to create more financial sustainability in community clubs and encourage funds to be directed towards infrastructure, revenue generation and player development.
With club finances stretched in recent years and with the additional pressure of restarting the game following the COVID-19 pandemic Scottish Rugby has already allocated close to £400,000 to 82 clubs as part of the Club Hardship Fund.