The Rugby Football League Needs To Step Up And Set Some Tougher Player Contract Rules

They days in which the RFL could suggest that player contracts are a club issue and nothing to do with them are well and truely over.

This week it has emerged that the Bradford Bulls have signed Matt Orford despite the fact they had already filled their overseas quota. Once they signed Orford, they told one of their other off season recruits, Chris Walker, to go away and never come back.

Walker and his management will now take this matter to court, but expect things to be worked out before then.

This comes off the back of issues with Hull KR’s finances and then earlier this year when it was revealed that the Celtic Crusaders had VISA issues with a number of their players who have now been banned from entering the UK for ten years!

Throughout all of these issues the RFL have thrown their hands in the air and done their best Sergeant Schultz impersonation.

That may have cut the mustard 30 years ago, but in 2009, that is not good enough any more.

The RFL need to stand up and set some rock solid rules that also come with penalties. They need to do this, not only to protect teams from themselves, but also to protect players who are easy to cut lose when needed.

This all should come into place on the back of stronger salary cap policing.

I know I’m not the only one who has been surprised by some of the player movement in Super League in 2009. For some teams, even if you look at players taking half of their reported salaries, the number just don’t add up!

Sure there are some things you just could never cut out of the game, brown paper bags full of money are hard to track, but at the very least you can take a good look at a clubs finances, look at all their books and work out of they are doing anything on the sly as far as extra salary payments go.

The NRL has done a fairly good job in this area. No one is naive enough to think that a few things happen in Australia that probably shouldn’t but the vast majority of loop holes have been closed for good and you can see the massive effect it has had on the competition over the last ten years.

The RFL don’t go anywhere near as far as the NRL does, in fact I’d suggest that of you told the RFL some of the things the NRL looks into they would just look at you like a confused puppy dog wondering why you are walking towards it with an axe.

As I’ve always said, its not up to the RFL to set its standards by what the NRL does, it it in the best interests of the RFL to go much further than the NRL does and set higher standards. Moves such as this will make sure the game in the UK actually does start to improve.

Players in Super League get looked after pretty well at the top level, but you don’t have to look to far to find players being screwed over by clubs going broke and contracts not being honoured.

The RFL has a responcibility to look after the best interests of the entire game, that includes the clubs and the players as well.

Lets hope they get their act together and stop this mess, because as it stands it is a problem that is slowly getting worse.

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