The International Rugby Board Council today adopted a new regulation on player availability for international matches. The new Regulation 9 will apply from January 1, 2009 and follows extensive consultation with all stakeholders.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said, “Over recent years the IRB has been engaged in a detailed consultation process with its Member Unions to develop a player release regulation that is consistent with the needs of the modern Game and is fair and proportionate for all stakeholders.”
“I believe we have achieved an outcome that will now provide more certainty and clarity for everyone in the Game. The adoption of this new Regulation 9 follows on from various initiatives undertaken by the IRB recently to establish a global consensus on the Game and how its regulatory structure should meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving sport. The IRB is continuing to review all of Rugby’s regulations with relevant stakeholders to ensure they remain fit for purpose.”
“As a world governing body we are conscious of the need to create a defined framework and schedule for the organisation of international and domestic matches. This is reflected in the revised Regulation 9 which caps the number of international matches for which players must be released and identifies when they are released back to their clubs or provinces.”
“Due to differences in playing seasons and tournament structures the number of international matches is 11 for Northern Hemisphere Unions and 12 for Southern Hemisphere Unions. Furthermore, Council decided not to include fallow weeks in international tournament periods as part of the release periods,” added Mr Lapasset
Regulation 9 will only apply to the following:
Release for Designated Events
Global release periods
Hemisphere Release Periods
Five weeks (matches) out of the seven weeks from the first weekend of February to the third weekend of March for the senior national representative team, the next senior national representative team and the Under 20 national representative team.
Six weeks (matches) out of the nine weeks from July 1 to August 31 for the senior national representative team, the next senior national representative team and the Under 20 national representative team.
Release for pre-match assembly, training and squad sessions
For all Unions, the Monday to Wednesday of the week preceding the Assembly period for the November window
For Northern Unions, the Monday to Wednesday of the week preceding the Assembly period for the Northern Hemisphere release period
For Southern Unions, the Monday to Wednesday of the week preceding the Assembly period for the Southern Hemisphere release period
The third session may be taken from a Monday to a Wednesday, subject to notification in advance of the relevant season
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