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International Eligibility - Residency


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I was very surprised last week after I was rightfully informed by another poster that Mark Kheirallah was no longer eligible for France following his move to Featherstone this season. I had been been assuming that once a player is capped for a nation on residency grounds their eligibility was confirmed and therefore they were perpetually available for the country in question.

The reason why my assumption was wrong is contained within the definition of "residence" as described within the IRL's official eligibility rules: "Subsequent to establishing his/her initial residency eligibility the Player must in each year prior to the year of his/her selection for such country be resident in the country for a minimum of 210 days in the preceding 12 months to maintain his/her residency eligibility". I had a quick look and couldn't find anything concrete so to be honest I have no idea if this provision is the norm in other sports but it seems peculiar that following 5 years of residence to establish eligibility a player can lose said eligibility after 210 days.

In international RL there are 4 ways a player can be deemed eligible to represent a country - The players' birth nation, their parents birth nation, their grandparents birth nation and residency of 60 consecutive months prior to playing an international match. After being informed of this provision for maintaining eligibility based on residence a few players that could be uncomfortably caught in no-mans land here came to mind. In respect of England, Mikolaj Oledski as we know was born in Poland but has now spent most of his life in England, now I've not confirmed Oledski doesn't have English heritage but for the sake of this hypothetical let's assume he doesn't. Even though Oledski received his first England test cap against France last year and is likely to receive more in the future, in a scenario where Oledski made a move to the NRL or France he would then under the current rules become ineligible to represent England. As such we could be left with an England regular having to sacrifice an international career in favour of moving to the NRL/Catalans/TO. 

Personally I think this may be an area that the IRL needs to look at refining and potentially implementing a "cumulative" residency eligibility provision as I did see exists in RU (10 years cumulative residency confers eligibility in this case). The IRL eligibility document is linked below and if there's something glaring I've missed that renders all this all null and void then by all means someone can point me in the right direction. 

https://www.intrl.sport/media/2wkkftdm/irl-eligibility-rules-2020-to-publishpdf.pdf

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I hadn't thought of the Oledski example, that would be a perverse and discriminatory outcome. Some sort of cumulative or 'residency as a child' rule needs to be added. 

I think when residency could be earned in 3 years the lapsing rule might have had a case, as I suppose it did open the chance of people 'residency stockpiling' as they moved around on contracts. 

But 5 years makes this significantly less likely - Kheirallah would be 37 before he became England qualified. 

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As always, it's the ability to switch eligibility that creates the nonsense scenario.

Assuming that isn't going to change, however, presumably the solution should be that once you have gained residency eligibility and played for a country (like Kheirallah), you should retain that eligibility UNLESS you decide to represent another country. So Kheirallah would remain able to play for France on account of having done so previously, but lose that eligibility if he chose to play for another national side. 

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51 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I hadn't thought of the Oledski example, that would be a perverse and discriminatory outcome. Some sort of cumulative or 'residency as a child' rule needs to be added. 

I think when residency could be earned in 3 years the lapsing rule might have had a case, as I suppose it did open the chance of people 'residency stockpiling' as they moved around on contracts. 

But 5 years makes this significantly less likely - Kheirallah would be 37 before he became England qualified. 

I suspect that when the rules were wrote nobody thought of the Oledski example either. It would be ridiculous if going to the NRL meant he couldn't represent England.

In other sports, I'm thinking of Mo Farah, might not be relevant as I'm not sure he actually moved there, but pretty sure he trained there while running in a UK vest at major championships

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Ridiculous situation if Kheirallah isn't eligible for WC selection. He's played for France for quite a few years and should continue to be eligible now that he's at a different club.

It doesn't make any sense or seem right to me.

Edited by StandOffHalf
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In my opinion once you have played for a country at senior level you shouldn't be allowed to switch

Once you have played for that country at senior level you should always be allowed to play for that country no matter what country you are living in.

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8 minutes ago, The Future is League said:

In my opinion once you have played for a country at senior level you shouldn't be allowed to switch

Once you have played for that country at senior level you should always be allowed to play for that country no matter what country you are living in.

That's not really the issue though. The issue is that the residency pathway to eligibility is much more restrictive than the other pathways, due to the possibility of it lapsing, unreasonably so in my view. 

For instance, an Aussie who's never set foot in Scotland but has a grandmother born in Aberdeen remains eligible to play for Scotland for life. Whereas Kheirallah, who has lived in France for a decade, and been capped for France, now can't play in the World Cup due to one season at Fev. 

For me, the lapsing rule should be abolished as it serves no useful purpose, and is separate from any other debate around eligibility. 

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3 hours ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

I suspect that when the rules were wrote nobody thought of the Oledski example either. It would be ridiculous if going to the NRL meant he couldn't represent England.

In other sports, I'm thinking of Mo Farah, might not be relevant as I'm not sure he actually moved there, but pretty sure he trained there while running in a UK vest at major championships

 Oledski is an odd one he’s polish so are his parents, but of course moved here as a youngster was he was  11-12 played all his rugby in England through the English system so rightly plays for England, and as Poland does not really have any RL team/teams or enough heritage players then he has no one else to play for. but I’m sure if in ten years tine Poland gad enough players to form a team and oledski is still playing he would love to pull on the jersey of his birth land. 
 

was cc also thinking the other day what happened to Morocco RL team, had plenty if French heritage players at one point and were playing regularly  

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3 hours ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

I suspect that when the rules were wrote nobody thought of the Oledski example either. It would be ridiculous if going to the NRL meant he couldn't represent England.

In other sports, I'm thinking of Mo Farah, might not be relevant as I'm not sure he actually moved there, but pretty sure he trained there while running in a UK vest at major championships

Mo farah trained  in USA sometimes Kenya, somali born but brought up in Uk and a product of UK athletics. Athletics is a bit different to lots of sports as many European athletes winter train in warner climates.

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30 minutes ago, Live after death said:

Mo farah trained  in USA sometimes Kenya, somali born but brought up in Uk and a product of UK athletics. Athletics is a bit different to lots of sports as many European athletes winter train in warner climates.

Indeed, but if athletics was governed by the same rules as rugby league, Farah wouldn't have been able to run for Britain at the Olympics after he moved to Oregon. Our rules make no sense. 

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6 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

I hadn't thought of the Oledski example, that would be a perverse and discriminatory outcome. Some sort of cumulative or 'residency as a child' rule needs to be added. 

I think when residency could be earned in 3 years the lapsing rule might have had a case, as I suppose it did open the chance of people 'residency stockpiling' as they moved around on contracts. 

But 5 years makes this significantly less likely - Kheirallah would be 37 before he became England qualified. 

Surely Oledski is a British Citizen rather than just a 'resident'?, i would imagine he was and the rule won't apply to him as it would have to apply to all citizens who play in a different country?

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9 minutes ago, daz39 said:

Surely Oledski is a British Citizen rather than just a 'resident'?, i would imagine he was and the rule won't apply to him as it would have to apply to all citizens who play in a different country?

I imagine he is a British citizen but it appears the rule still does apply. In common with other sports, national citizenship doesn't appear to come into it. The 4 pathways are very clear (and similar to other sports). 

I presume that's becasue getting a passport is a lot easier for some countries than others. 

At a quick scan though we appear to be the only major sport that has a 'lapsing' rule, while also not having a 'cumulative' rule, creating such anomalies. 

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Once a player is capped to a nation they should always be eligible for them. Hopefully if France want to the pick him they do and fight it if they have to and bring light to the flaw in the rule using this case and other hypotheticals.

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4 minutes ago, jim_57 said:

Once a player is capped to a nation they should always be eligible for them. Hopefully if France want to the pick him they do and fight it if they have to and bring light to the flaw in the rule using this case and other hypotheticals.

I agree, although I wonder if he's burned his bridges with French rugby league after the way he fell out with TO!

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6 minutes ago, jim_57 said:

Once a player is capped to a nation they should always be eligible for them. Hopefully if France want to the pick him they do and fight it if they have to and bring light to the flaw in the rule using this case and other hypotheticals.

Yes, it seems strange to do this any other way.

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I agree, although I wonder if he's burned his bridges with French rugby league after the way he fell out with TO!

Yes that's what I was initially assuming was the case, for what it's worth I highly doubt he makes the French side anyway but it shines a light on the potential problems the rule could cause.

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1 hour ago, daz39 said:

Surely Oledski is a British Citizen rather than just a 'resident'?, i would imagine he was and the rule won't apply to him as it would have to apply to all citizens who play in a different country?

 

53 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

I imagine he is a British citizen but it appears the rule still does apply. In common with other sports, national citizenship doesn't appear to come into it. The 4 pathways are very clear (and similar to other sports). 

I presume that's becasue getting a passport is a lot easier for some countries than others. 

At a quick scan though we appear to be the only major sport that has a 'lapsing' rule, while also not having a 'cumulative' rule, creating such anomalies. 

We seem to be one of a number of sports where citizenship doesn't mean you qualify to represent a country.

The reason usually put forward is that there have been countries (mainly Arab ones) who hand out citizenship to decent sportsmen just so that they can represent their country.

The other issue with the UK being represented by the constituent countries is that there is only British Citizenship rather than individual English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish citizenship. Consequently we would either have to accept that all Brits could play for any Home Nation or also include birth place or residency qualification in addition to citizenship.

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Anyone thought this may be more than a rugby thing.

Is Kheirallah an Aussie citizen and French resident .

Residency and citizenship are entirely different.

Try working abroad for more than 180 days (I think it is) and how this affects you taxation and also residency of any country if you are not a citizen.

Also may I throw in France to England ..EU to None EU. 

Maybe just maybe its more than sport that makes him lose his residency / Selection rights.

So if by law he is no longer a French residence (due to him moving to the UK) then I guess that will also affect his selection criteria.

You are only a resident if you follow the rules  so when you give up your residency you also give up your right for selection.

Just putting it out there and I may be totally wrong .

Edited by yanto
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13 hours ago, UTK said:

I was very surprised last week after I was rightfully informed by another poster that Mark Kheirallah was no longer eligible for France following his move to Featherstone this season. I had been been assuming that once a player is capped for a nation on residency grounds their eligibility was confirmed and therefore they were perpetually available for the country in question.

The reason why my assumption was wrong is contained within the definition of "residence" as described within the IRL's official eligibility rules: "Subsequent to establishing his/her initial residency eligibility the Player must in each year prior to the year of his/her selection for such country be resident in the country for a minimum of 210 days in the preceding 12 months to maintain his/her residency eligibility". I had a quick look and couldn't find anything concrete so to be honest I have no idea if this provision is the norm in other sports but it seems peculiar that following 5 years of residence to establish eligibility a player can lose said eligibility after 210 days.

In international RL there are 4 ways a player can be deemed eligible to represent a country - The players' birth nation, their parents birth nation, their grandparents birth nation and residency of 60 consecutive months prior to playing an international match. After being informed of this provision for maintaining eligibility based on residence a few players that could be uncomfortably caught in no-mans land here came to mind. In respect of England, Mikolaj Oledski as we know was born in Poland but has now spent most of his life in England, now I've not confirmed Oledski doesn't have English heritage but for the sake of this hypothetical let's assume he doesn't. Even though Oledski received his first England test cap against France last year and is likely to receive more in the future, in a scenario where Oledski made a move to the NRL or France he would then under the current rules become ineligible to represent England. As such we could be left with an England regular having to sacrifice an international career in favour of moving to the NRL/Catalans/TO. 

Personally I think this may be an area that the IRL needs to look at refining and potentially implementing a "cumulative" residency eligibility provision as I did see exists in RU (10 years cumulative residency confers eligibility in this case). The IRL eligibility document is linked below and if there's something glaring I've missed that renders all this all null and void then by all means someone can point me in the right direction. 

https://www.intrl.sport/media/2wkkftdm/irl-eligibility-rules-2020-to-publishpdf.pdf

Two quick thoughts occur on reading your post, UTK.

 

The first is that I would have thought that Kheirallah would still be eligible for France because I would have thought he was resident in France for 210 days in 2021, which would be the most recent year which could be described as being one of 'each year prior to his/her selection', if that selection is in 2022.  All that said, I suspect the French treiziste management would not now want him for a mix of reasons.

The second more general point (though it applies to Oledski) is that it seems odd that being a citizen of a country is not one of the ways in which you can be eligible.  Our game, like some others such as soccer and the dark side, is slightly unusual in that it allows teams to play in internationals that are not, politically in the wider scheme of things, freestanding states; thus, you cannot be an English citizen, but rather, can be a UK citizen, who identifies as English.  But the choice of the individual would then come into play, so there would be no problem.  A player like Oledski would naturally use his British citizenship to play for England, rather than other home nations.  And he could do so even if he was plying his trade in the NRL or a French SL team.

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6 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

I imagine he is a British citizen but it appears the rule still does apply. In common with other sports, national citizenship doesn't appear to come into it. The 4 pathways are very clear (and similar to other sports). 

I presume that's becasue getting a passport is a lot easier for some countries than others. 

At a quick scan though we appear to be the only major sport that has a 'lapsing' rule, while also not having a 'cumulative' rule, creating such anomalies. 

Then if it's a sport wide rule how do English lads in the NRL and vice versa get to play for their country? surely that rule would rule all of them out.

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3 minutes ago, daz39 said:

Then if it's a sport wide rule how do English lads in the NRL and vice versa get to play for their country? surely that rule would rule all of them out.

Because they were born in England, which is one of the four eligibility options, along with parents birthplace, grandparents birthplace and residency. Legal nationality isn't taken into account at all.

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9 minutes ago, daz39 said:

Then if it's a sport wide rule how do English lads in the NRL and vice versa get to play for their country? surely that rule would rule all of them out.

Born in the country, unlike Kheirallah.

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9 hours ago, Toby Chopra said:

That's not really the issue though. The issue is that the residency pathway to eligibility is much more restrictive than the other pathways, due to the possibility of it lapsing, unreasonably so in my view. 

For instance, an Aussie who's never set foot in Scotland but has a grandmother born in Aberdeen remains eligible to play for Scotland for life. Whereas Kheirallah, who has lived in France for a decade, and been capped for France, now can't play in the World Cup due to one season at Fev. 

For me, the lapsing rule should be abolished as it serves no useful purpose, and is separate from any other debate around eligibility. 

Lets put some meat on the bones here.

1. You can only play for a country that you were born you in or have resided in that country for at least  5 years, and have not played for another country at senior level, or had a parent born in that country.

2, The grandparent born rule needs to be got rid of as it makes a mockery of the game. 3 of my 4 grandparents weren't born in England. In fact none of them were born in the same country, which if i had been enough i could have played for 4 different countries under the present rule. How ridiculous is that.

 

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50 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Two quick thoughts occur on reading your post, UTK.

 

The first is that I would have thought that Kheirallah would still be eligible for France because I would have thought he was resident in France for 210 days in 2021, which would be the most recent year which could be described as being one of 'each year prior to his/her selection', if that selection is in 2022.  All that said, I suspect the French treiziste management would not now want him for a mix of reasons.

The second more general point (though it applies to Oledski) is that it seems odd that being a citizen of a country is not one of the ways in which you can be eligible.  Our game, like some others such as soccer and the dark side, is slightly unusual in that it allows teams to play in internationals that are not, politically in the wider scheme of things, freestanding states; thus, you cannot be an English citizen, but rather, can be a UK citizen, who identifies as English.  But the choice of the individual would then come into play, so there would be no problem.  A player like Oledski would naturally use his British citizenship to play for England, rather than other home nations.  And he could do so even if he was plying his trade in the NRL or a French SL team.

You might well be right on the Kheirallah point, good spot. 

On the citizenship point though, I'm still not sure it works. The FIFA rules explicitly say that nationality counts (subject to other conditions). The rugby union rules explicitly state that citizenship is NOT a determining factor. 

Our rules don't explicitly mention the citizenship issue, but they do explicitly state the four ways you can be eligible to play for a country, and citizenship isnt relevant in any of them. 

So Mik electing to play for England is neither here nor there when jt comes to meeting thr IRL rules. 

(Interestingly, the Home nations in football have agreed to tightened up on this - the "Pat van den Hauwe rule" no longer exists - you have to demonstrate some sort of other tie than just a passport. They have 5 years in education - that would work for us in this case.)

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15 hours ago, The Future is League said:

The grandparent born rule needs to be got rid of

 

If that happened, there'd only be three competitive nations (Aus, NZ, Eng), four that could make up the numbers (Fiji, Fra, PNG, Wal), and a bunch of no-hopers (everyone else).

Well, you'd probably have to get rid of the parent rule as well to have quite that big of an effect.

Edited by Stotty
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