RUPA responds to ARU early release announcement

By Pete Fairbairn, 13.08.16

The Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) is firmly committed to working in collaboration with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to implement strategies and structures which promote Australia’s best Rugby players playing Super Rugby in Australia and for Australia.

RUPA also recognises that for a multitude of reasons individual players may elect to ply their trade overseas should they believe that to be in their best interests. Accordingly, RUPA is pleased that the ARU has today confirmed the early release of Liam Gill and Greg Holmes, who are two of more than a dozen Australian players who have been released by the ARU and respective Super Rugby teams already in 2016.

The provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allow players to seek and receive a release from their contracts from as early as the end of their Super Rugby team’s season. Players of national interest may be retained by the ARU beyond that date, with the third Bledisloe Cup fixture in October the longest a player with more than seven years of consecutive service can be denied a release.

“Today’s announcement by the ARU is the result of many weeks of ongoing dialogue and RUPA appreciates the ARU’s concern for the players’ best interests in coming to this decision,” RUPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Xenos said.

“We also appreciate the ARU’s ongoing commitment to and support of the Australian Rugby Player Agent Accreditation Scheme. In recent times we might have questioned this commitment, but today’s announcement certainly draws a clear line in the sand for all stakeholders.”

RUPA administers the Australian Rugby Agent Accreditation Scheme on behalf of a joint ARU-RUPA Agent Accreditation Board. This structure is enshrined in the CBA, with the accepted behaviours of Accredited Agents and professional Rugby Bodies articulated via a set of Scheme Regulations. This includes the obligation of all Rugby Bodies to only negotiate player’s contracts with Accredited Agents.

“If any player believes that they have been misled or misrepresented by their Agent, the existence of the Scheme provides great peace of mind that an appropriate channel is available for players to make their grievances known. Players are well aware of the Scheme and that any dispute will be dealt with in a transparent and professional manner. There are no such disputes currently before the Agent Accreditation Board.” Xenos said

“RUPA’s longer term concern is that without an alignment in the global Rugby calendar and more robust management of Regulation 9 by World Rugby, these kinds of club versus country conflicts will be very hard to eliminate. That places the careers of players and the integrity of Australian Rugby at serious risk. We will continue to support ARU in their approaches to World Rugby on these critical matters.”

Pete Fairbairn
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