UAE rugby clubs have mixed feelings towards amendments regarding player transfers

Matt Jones - Editor 15:50 08/06/2018
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Dubai Eagles and UAE fly-half Sean Carey says the news is both good and bad.

Amendments to the rules governing player transfers between rugby clubs in the UAE have been met with a mixed reaction by clubs.

The UAE Rugby Federation altered the rules following recommendations based on end-of-season meetings held with clubs at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, which took place on April 21.

The UAE RF introduced the Rugby Player Transfer Window two years ago, giving players two opportunities per season to switch clubs – between August 1 and 15 and December 20 to January 5.

Prior to that, players were only allowed to transfer between clubs once the season had ended.

The amendments to the laws state has seen the summer transfer window lengthened to run from between June 1 to July 31, while the winter window remains the same.

The changes in the law have been met warmly by Abu Dhabi Saracens and Dubai Exiles, both of whom claim it will lead to greater transparency.

“We welcome the transfer window, this allows clubs to recruit players in a fair and transparent manner,” said Richard Croft, vice chairman at Sarries.

“Additionally it allows players to consider their own rugby goals, moving, where needed, to clubs that allow them to realise their full potential.”

UAE No8 Jaen Botes joined Dubai Exiles from Abu Dhabi Saracens last summer.

UAE No8 Jaen Botes joined Dubai Exiles from Abu Dhabi Saracens last summer.

Exiles chairman Mike Wolff added: “I’m all in favor. It gives senior players the chance to explore alternatives but gives coaches the assurances they seek to know who they have got to work with before the real graft in August kicks off.

“Otherwise a player can do pre-season with a club (which costs clubs money), learn some critical intelligence regarding how a club is seeking to play, and then he leaves for somewhere else for whatever reason. That’s not fair or right.”

But even though there are benefits, Dubai Eagles fly-half and director of rugby Sean Carey feels it doesn’t necessarily work well for players, especially the large community of teachers in the Emirates.

“I can understand why it was introduced, it has its benefits for the clubs, who can organise pre-season and know who is committed for the season ahead,” said the Irishman.

“It doesn’t help the players, who could end up being second or third choice and not be able to move before the season starts.

“It also doesn’t help teachers or those who come back to the UAE at the end of August; they have to make their mind up before seeing any coaching set-up or competition.”

Those players wishing to transfer must supply a letter of no objection from their current club, fill in a Player Transfer Application Form and address it to the UAE RF Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai, to be able to begin their transfer request.

The UAE RF regulations will be amended accordingly and any transfer requests outside of these windows will not be considered.

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