SUBURBAN RUGBY – Adapting and Evolving

SUBURBAN RUGBY – Adapting and Evolving for the Modern Game and Contemporary Life

The NSW Suburban Rugby Union Board has long recognised that the “community game” must indeed be representative of the community which it serves – largely amateur players and unpaid volunteers who face increasing calls on their time from many sources, not the least being work.

The NSWSRU Board is taking steps, phased in over the next two seasons, to reorganise Suburban Rugby:

  • NSW Suburban Rugby will be declared amateur from 2015. The payment of players will be prohibited and penalties will be applied for any breach of the amateur status.
  • Divisions will be restructured so that all divisions below Division One will consist of eight clubs playing 14 minor premiership rounds, finishing with a top four finals series. Division One will remain with ten clubs and 18 rounds.
  • Extra wet weather weeks will be scheduled in recognition of the increasing incidence of council ground closures, and the problems these inevitably cause for players and officials. This should largely negate the need for “make-up” matches to be played on Sundays or mid-week.
  • An extra guaranteed bye may also be available, giving certainty around available weekends off.
  • A weekend during the season may be set aside for divisional sevens tournaments or cross-divisional “FA Cup” style competitions, emphasising the social aspect of rugby at the Suburban level.
  • An entry level competition will be formed to cater for new single team clubs, with the aim of improving their Suburban experience and longevity whilst preparing them for promotion to higher, more competitive, divisions in future years.

Suburban Rugby wants to adapt and evolve to meet the challenges thrown up by the modern game and contemporary life, to better reflect the Union’s unofficial motto – “The Game for the Game Itself.”

The Board believes these changes will help to do so.

Below is a brief outline of how the changes described above will be implemented: 

NSW Suburban Rugby’s Move to Amateur Status
Throughout 2014 the Union will consult with clubs regarding the details of Suburban Rugby’s move to amateur status.

The Amateur Status definitions, rules, guidelines and penalties will be discussed and decided upon well in advance of the 2015 introduction.

However, as a starting point, and as a guiding principle, we can state now that the SPIRIT of amateurism will prevail: any payment, reward, or benefit that might induce a person to play with a Suburban Rugby club will be regarded as a breach of the amateur status.

Some examples, as a starting point, are included here but are by no means definitive:

Definition
An Amateur is one who does not receive or agree to receive, either directly or indirectly, any remuneration or reward whatsoever (whether by match payments or expenses or otherwise) in respect to their participation as a player in the NSW Suburban Rugby Union.

Permissible
Not Permissible
Employment
Clubs may assist with or facilitate
full or part time employment for a player, provided the conditions of the
employment are consistent with current commercial practices.
Employment cannot be linked to the
operations of the club e.g. physio, trainer, or working the bar or canteen.
Employment cannot be dependent on
playing for the club.
Awards
Players may receive awards from
sponsors relevant to match day performance. Awards must be nonmonetary and
will not exceed an advertised value.
Playing Coaches
Playing coaches may only be
reimbursed for receipted out of pocket coaching expenses (not exceeding an
advertised amount).
Non-playing coaches may be
remunerated.
Expenses
Costs directly associated with
playing for the club e.g. out of pocket injury expenses, membership, etc,
provided these are available to all players.
Any expenses not directly
associated with playing for the club. Incl services in kind. e.g. building,
landscaping, professional services, fuel, other travel related expenses or
accommodation.
Player Sponsorships
Players are able to source player
sponsorships to offset their annual membership provided all funds are
directed towards the club.
Education Fees
Education fees may not be paid for
or subsidized either directly or indirectly.

Promotion and Relegation at the End of the 2014 Season

  • The club finishing last in Division One will be relegated to Division Two.
  • The club finishing first in Division Two will be promoted to Division One.
  • The TWO last placed clubs in Division Two will be relegated to Division Three, so that there will be eight clubs in Division Two from 2015 onwards.
  • The club finishing first in Division Three will NOT be promoted to Division Two.
  • The TWO last placed clubs in Division Three will be relegated to Division Four. If required, this process will continue beyond 2014, so that ultimately there will be eight clubs in Division Three.
  • Promotion from Division Three to Division Two will be re-instated from 2015, for the highest placed club with colts in the Division Three Club Championship.
  • Clubs in Divisions Five and Six at the end of the 2014 season will be graded, where possible, so that each division will consist of eight clubs (including a Division Four for three-team clubs.) Requests for promotion from Division Five and Six clubs will be assessed on the same basis as they are now.
Article originally published on 10/12/2013 on rugby.net.au.

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