The question of the residency rules for rugby are in the news again.
World Rugby are supposedly considering the current situation and Vice Chairman Augustin Pichot has long been known to be in favour of at least increasing the qualification rules –
The increase in ‘project’ players has brought the matter into sharp focus.
Pretty much all of the 6 Nations sides have taken advantage of the easy qualification and it seems inevitable that the rule will change.
To be fair, France have already taken the unusual (and positive) step of saying they won’t select foreign players –
Understandably this will not be retrospective.
England are also considering a self-imposed residency rule increase to 5 years –
Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive, confirmed for the first time that the governing body would advocate extending the qualification period.
“Our view will be, and this is subject to further discussion but it’s coming up soon, that a five-year qualification is the optimum position to be in,” said Ritchie. “There are other countries who will take a different view, I think, and that’s up to them.”
Unions are free to impose their own qualification rules above the current three-year minimum laid down by World Rugby and in December the French Rugby Federation said it would no longer go on the three-year residency rule but instead would require players to possess a French passport.
Interesting times – and implications!