Historic: World Rugby approves framework for players to switch unions


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Historic: World Rugby approves framework for players to switch unions

The World Rugby Council approved an amendment to the regulations governing the representation of national teams, now allowing an international player can change once from one union to another, subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union through birthright.

Beginning January 1, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (Eligibility), a player must meet the following criteria:

  • Player must not play international rugby for 36 months

  • The player must have been born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born there

  • Under the revised criteria of Regulation 8, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity.After January 1, 2022, any player who meet the above criteria you can immediately request a change.

The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” between rugby fifteen and sevens. All players will now be “caught” at 18 years of age to simplify the Rules and improve understanding and compliance by the Union.

Approval of the amendment arrives following requests from emerging nations and a subsequent broad consultation process with member unions, regions and the International Rugby Players, andexamining the possibility of amending the principle within the Regulations that stipulates that a player can only represent a union at the international level, except for specific circumstances related to participation in the Olympic Games.

The benefits of the amendment include:

  • Simplicity and alignment: Transfers are currently allowed in the context of participation in the Olympic Games in rugby sevens. This amendment will create a streamlined and aligned process for the entire game.

  • Emerging Nations Development: The availability of players in Emerging Nations can be enhanced by allowing players who have close and credible ties to the “Emerging Union” by birth or ancestry to “return” to those Unions having previously represented another Union.

  • Player-centric approach: the process recognized the modern environment of rugby, including the global movement of players, the current ability to capture players by selecting them from the substitute bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for a Union. He also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international rugby landscape.


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