Super League to reduce number of overseas players

The overseas quota was reduced from five to three players, but clubs have for a long time been getting around the restrictions by signing players with EU passports or under the Kolpak ruling.

However, the RFL have proposed that clubs work to reduce the numbers of overseas players in their squads within the next three years, while promoting 20 per cent of their first team from their own academy system.

"There's been a long-standing objective to encourage the production of more British-qualified players," said the Rugby Football League's Nigel Wood. “These proposals are similar to those being pursued by Uefa in football.

"All the Super League clubs were absolutely supportive of the principles, to the point where adoption of the rules may take place at the next meeting in March rather than wait for the annual regulatory meeting this June."

In last season’s relegation decider between Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers, the Wildcats fielded only two English born and bred players in their 17-man squad.

The influx of overseas players into Super League has long been seen as a detriment to Great Britain’s performances on the international stage, as young British talent is not being given a chance to develop.

The RFL is also hoping to introduce new salary cap regulations to ensure that clubs stay within the salary cap guidelines and that any disciplinary action comes at the time of the offence rather than twelve months later.

The moves come after six Super League clubs were found in 2006 to have broken salary cap regulations during the 2005 season, including eventual champions Bradford Bulls who reached Old Trafford from third place after the short-term signing of Adrian Morley.

The proposals would also remove from the cap all players from outside a club’s first-team squad, meaning that clubs would be able to maintain academy sides.

Wood told reporters that any changes to the salary cap system had not yet been confirmed, explaining: "We still have some work to do in this area.

"However, we hope to have a salary cap system in 2008 that is preventative rather than retrospective and which gives all clubs the ability to invest in the production of junior talent."

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