It seems like contracts are becoming a thing of the past in sport – not just rugby league.
There have been a number of cases in recent years where a player has just dismissed their contract and moved to another club or even another sport, with no real consequence going against them.
Remember when New Zealand legend Sonny Bill Williams left Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008? There was uproar in the NRL because he didn’t honour his contract – but now, we see similar moves happening like that all the time.
It seems as though the case nowadays is just for a player to request a release – and when it happens – it is by ‘mutual consent’.
Who can forget the Denny Solomona saga from 2017? The former Castleford Tigers winger decided to ‘retire’ from rugby league, so he could join rugby union side Sale Sharks with immediate effect.
The Samoa rugby league international, who has now played for England in rugby union, joined Sale Sharks on a three-year deal and Castleford then received £200,000 in compensation.
The latest case of a player not honouring his contract is Valentine Holmes – the Australia star who turned down an offer from Cronulla Sharks to become their highest paid player ever and instead join the NFL. He was contracted to the NRL side for 2019.
I’m not saying it is a bad thing that players are having more of a say in the game, but what exactly is the point in them signing contracts for clubs?
Well, there is probably only one point. They might receive a transfer fee when selling a player.
For example, if a player has five years on his contract, that means the club will get a good sum of money for the player if they are sold, whereas if the player only had one-year left to run then the club would hardly get any money.
It seems like contracts are fading out of sport and rugby league, with it now being easier for players to part ways with their deals.
Will we eventually get to a point where we just have rolling contracts?
Players are starting to have a say in the game and clubs are having less of one.
Whether it is a good thing or not – we don’t know, it is still early doors, but we will see.