Debate: Should the SRU ban payments in club rugby?

Hawick's Rory Hutton, who has called for payments in SRU club rugby to be banned. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Hawick's Rory Hutton, who has called for payments in SRU club rugby to be banned. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HAWICK stand-off Rory Hutton raised the point after his side’s RBS Premiership victory on Saturday that he turned down offers to play elsewhere for money.

He was reputedly offered over £10,000, but stayed at Hawick while others took up such incentives and left. Some leading clubs do not pay anything, while others right down through Scottish rugby’s top 50 clubs do pay players.

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Since the game turned professional in 1995, payment to players at any level is permitted. Biggar see it as a way to buy in inspirational figures to help develop the sport, with little support from the local school, while Kelso increased payments last summer to a coach and players in order to plug gaps and help them avoid relegation from the National League. Both Biggar and Kelso attracted Hawick players.

Having been relegated, Dundee now fear that they will lose players to the financial pull of Premiership clubs and struggle to return as a result,while there has been a growing concern across the club game in Scotland that player payments are leading clubs to financial ruin.

Is it time the SRU looked again at allowing payments at amateur club level?

Should the SRU introduce transfer fees?

If banning payments is not realistic in an open game, a second option would be to introduce transfer fees. If a player is enticed to another club while under contract, as in football, that club has to pay a transfer fee agreed by the two clubs. This will inevitably open up new problems and attract fresh controversy and disagreement, but might it help protect clubs?

Is it time the SRU looked at introducing a transfer fee system?

Should the SRU stick with the status quo?

Should players actually be permitted to move freely between clubs and pick up what earnings they can from the commitment and effort they put into the sport? Would the SRU be wrong, in fact, to consider trying to manipulate a free market by curtailing movement?

Over to you, Scotsman readers. Have your say in the comment section below.