Denis Betts criticises anti-tampering law

Denis Betts has slammed the RFL’s anti-tampering rule which prevents clubs from negotiating with players.

Out-of-contract players are unable to make negotiations with new clubs until September 1st. This, according to Betts, was the reason Widnes appeared to doing nothing in preparation for the new season.

Widnes were granted a Super League licence in March last year, but had to wait another six months before they could start putting a team together. 

It’s a situation Betts admits was difficult.

He said: “Every club thought we had a jump on everybody else and it just didn’t happen. 

 “We weren’t in a situation financially to be able to make massive changes to the staff and the organisation because funding didn’t kick in until December.

“When you tried to talk to players you were told you couldn’t until everybody else could speak to them, so we didn’t get a jump on anybody. It was just known that we were in.”

Super League licences were introduced to prevent part time clubs from falling into administration trying to get into Super League, as well as over spending trying to stay in. 

It was also agreed that promoted clubs didn’t have enough time to assemble a good enough squad together after they had won the National League One Grand Final.

Therefore there was a yo-yo effect between certain clubs filtering in and out of Super League each season.

Betts said: “You couldn’t talk to players until after September. It was this cloak and dagger situation, we had just got the nod but we couldn’t do anything.”

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