RFL considers Brexit impact on overseas stars

The RFL is currently working out proposals for how Brexit will effect the sport’s Kolpak players, who until now have had the freedom to obtain contracts with British clubs without them being added to the overseas quota.
Britain left the European Union on January 31st, which could change the eligibility of those players.
The Kolpak ruling states that citizens from countries that have signed European Union Association Agreements have the same right to freedom, work and movement within the European Union as the citizens of all its member countries.
That ruling has allowed clubs to sign players with Fijian, Tongan and Samoan passports, with many currently active within Super League and the Championship.
However, the RFL is working out what impact Brexit will have on their rights to work and whether they will be allowed to continue their careers in the European league structure.
In cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board has informed clubs that all Kolpak registrations will be terminated at the end of the 2020 season.
Should Rugby League follow a similar route it will have major implications for squads up and down the country, with most Super League clubs currently having two Kolpak players.
Super League rules allow clubs to have five overseas players but seven non-Federation trained players, which would normally include overseas quota players plus two Kolpak players.
However, that could all be about to change, though the RFL claim they are still working to determine the full implications, which will be complicated by the fact that one Super League club, the Catalans Dragons, are based in a country that is still a member of the European Union.
Sam Allen, the RFL’s head of salary cap & registrations, said: “Brexit may have an impact on players who are nationals from non-EU countries which have an ‘Association Agreement’ with the EU, because the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
“Although the UK has now left the EU, we are now in a transitional phase, meaning that our guidance on such issues is at present general rather than specific.”
Rules could be changed to help ensure clubs can retain players who could be affected. A proposal in cricket, as an example, is to increase the number of overseas players permitted.