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All-Ireland clubs to stop paying players

ALL-IRELAND League clubs will be forced to cease paying players from the start of the 2014/15 season.

The IRFU announced that it was to bring in a new set of rules around the movement and payment of players after the issue was raised by cash- strapped clubs. Clubs will also be encouraged to hire domestic coaches.

Senior rugby clubs owed a combined €20.48m at the end of last season, with 12 clubs owing more than €500,000 each.

Clubs are dealing with financial issues like a decrease of between 40-50pc in sponsorship and 30-40pc in bar revenue. Clubs can currently pay players €4,500 per season, but that practice will be banned from the season after next.

Players who switch clubs will be made sit out part of the season after moving to discourage transfers, while points deductions, fines and suspensions could follow non-compliance of the rules.

University clubs will be prevented from offering financial incentives over their scholarships, while benefactors will be prevented from paying players directly according to the new rules.

"Payments to players became commonplace during our 'boom' years and this practice has put significant financial pressure on many clubs with resources being diverted from crucial areas," Scott Walker (above) director of rugby development and the club game at the IRFU said.

"The changes introduced by this reports will protect and develop the domestic game."

Irish Independent