NRL dumps anti-tamper law
22 June 2006Â
By JOHN COFFEY
The National Rugby League's (NRL) annual mid-season distraction â€“ the June 30 anti-tampering deadline â€“ is about to be scrapped.
NRL chief executive David Gallop signalled his intention to remove the existing rules and is believed to have the support of a strong majority of clubs and the players' association.
"In truth it would take a compelling argument from the clubs for us to recommend to the board the retention of any sort of anti-tampering system," said Gallop in advance of next month's club chief executives' meeting.
"The anti-tampering rules were first introduced to protect clubs at a time when there was not an effective salary cap," said Gallop.
"The arguments were that a player shouldn't be able to negotiate with another team until he had finished all but the last six months of his existing contract.
"But the rule is there to protect clubs. The fact is that tampering can only take place if clubs themselves participate in negotiations."
Under the anti-tampering rules players need permission from their current clubs to negotiate with other clubs before July 1.
AdvertisementAdvertisementSouth Sydney had been particularly active. With Kiwis Nigel Vagana and David Kidwell already on board for 2007 and beyond, the Rabbitohs yesterday signed Parramatta Eels impact forward Dean Widders for the next three years.
Several NRL coaches have fiercely questioned the worth of the rules, claiming players were distracted when trying to secure their futures.
Wayne Bennett welcomed Gallop's move yesterday, saying "The farce is finally over ... I've always said if you've got a rule you can't enforce, get rid of it."
New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary recently said he had changed his opinion of the anti-tampering deadline, believing it should be moved to the end of a season. Since the Warriors released Clinton Toopi to join Leeds from 2007, the futures of off-contract Brent Webb, Awen Guttenbeil, and Epalahame Lauaki have been a constant source of debate.
"There's a lot more player movement than there was five or six years ago. It's a distraction, there's no doubt about it," said Cleary.
Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah was in the "undecided" category, indicating a level of support for scrapping the rule but stopping short of advocating "open slather".
In an open market an outstanding young player who had just signed a three-year contract could conceivably have other clubs inquiring about his intentions from 2010 onwards.
The NRL expects British clubs and rugby union would find it more difficult to raid players if the anti-tampering deadline was axed, although the salary cap would still limit the size of NRL offers.
In-form Canberra fullback and goalkicker Clinton Schifcofske, 30, has reportedly become the latest rugby union target, being linked to the Queensland Reds.
Meanwhile, former Kangaroos centre Willie Tonga, 22, has spurned rugby union approaches and re-signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs for another two years.
good stuff i reackon i never really got it anyway