Former England international Ugo Monye has argued for the introduction of transfer fees for ‘homegrown’ England players.

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Unlike in football, rugby union players generally see out their contracts, so traditionally there’s been no need to for their contracts to be bought out with a transfer fee .

There have been exceptions to this rule of course. Louis Picamoles was bought out of his Northampton Saints contract by Montpellier for example.

More often than not however, it comes down to a shoot out over which club can pay a player more, loyalty and the lifestyle benefits on offer.

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Writing in his Guardian column, Monye argues that the case of prop Kyle Sinckler – who Harlequins are fighting to hold on to – presents an example of how some clubs who develop England players can ultimately struggle to keep England talent on the books, despite massive time and financial investment into said players.

Monye doesn’t believe enough is being done to reward clubs that develop England internationals from academy products and to that end, a transfer fee would give these sides more clout when it came to keeping hold of homegrown talents. Currently Premiership sides who produce England players can make use of salary cap incentives and circa £80,000 per season.

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“You could have a player who has been part of your academy for up to 10 years and suddenly you’re not able to afford him and off he goes. Where is the reward for all the good work you’ve done? If you’re a homegrown player and the club have developed you to the point that they can no longer afford you, it doesn’t feel right.

“There needs to be more support and more compensation for the efforts the club has put into the player.”

“I stress that the introduction of transfer fees would apply to homegrown players only and the point would be to benefit primarily those top-six clubs who are producing multiple England internationals and not being rewarded in kind. I think of clubs such as Sale and London Irish, who in recent years have been ransacked in terms of players they have developed.”

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Monye, who won 14 caps for England, says the situation of homegrown player drainage is potentially exasperated by clubs who breach the salary cap.

“(Sinkler is) the poster boy for any budding Harlequin but it is becoming increasingly difficult to house multiple current internationals in one squad and to be competitive. If you have teams not adhering to the salary cap then it becomes impossible.”

 

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