Overseas Quota – A Beginner’s Guide

For the first time ever, the RFL has published their Overseas Quota list.

The list discloses how each club, from Super League all the way down the League 1, uses their quota spots in their current squad.

This is really insightful and useful information for both supporters and the media. However, it can be a little bit confusing and hard to understand.

So here’s everything you need to know about the Overseas Quota rules.

The Basics

  • Each club is entitled to five Overseas Players.
  • An additional rule for Super League clubs is that they can have no more than seven Non-Federation trained players.

What does Overseas and Non-Federation trained mean?

  • An Overseas Player is someone who does not hold a European passport or is not a national from a Kolpak Nation (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa & Papua New Guinea). More often than not, they will be from Australia or New Zealand.
  • A Non-Federation trained player is a player who was not trained by an RLEF (Rugby League European Federation) member club for three years before the age of 21.

Why can you have five overseas and seven non-federation trained?

  • This is where there’s a bit of a catch. Every ‘Overseas Player’ also counts as a ‘Non-Federation Trained Player’, other than in very rare cases. If an Australian or New Zealander comes to Super League, the likelihood is they weren’t trained over here either. So they count on both lists.
  • As a result, there are an additional two Non-Fed spots to allow clubs the opportunity to sign more players from overseas, but with some restrictions on who they can actually sign.
  • As an example, Gareth Widdop, despite being English, is classed as a Non-Federation Trained Player, as he was brought up through the junior systems in Australia. He will not take one of Warrington’s ‘Overseas Player’ spots, but will be one of their seven ‘Non-Federation Trained Players’.
  • Another is Luther Burrell. Despite being English, he wasn’t trained by a rugby league club, so, therefore, is Non-Federation trained. But we’ll cover his case more later.

Can clubs go over their quota?

  • Only if they are granted special dispensation by the RFL.
  • This is uncommon but does happen. As an example, the RFL gave clubs dispensation to sign Krisnan Inu, Wellington Albert and Adam Tangata when they were released by Widnes due to their financial issues. Those players don’t count on the quota for their new clubs for the duration of their contracts.
  • Additionally, another dispensation recently added was the New Talent Pool. This means clubs are given dispensation on the salary cap if they bring in an athlete from another sport. As an example, Warrington were given dispensation on their quota to sign Burrell, so he does not count on their quota.

What if a club breaks their quota?

  • They can’t. The RFL must sign off every new signing and if a club is full on quota, they will not be allowed to sign anyone else.

Super League’s club-by-club guide to overseas quota usage