Rugby Safeguarding and Transfer 2023

Regulations for the Irish Rugby Football Union 2022


Derived from Rule 10 of Regulations of the Irish Rugby Football Union 2022.

  • -Each branch, Association and club has an appointed Club Welfare Officer who is held responsible for ensuring compliance with the Unions safeguarding Policy and Guidelines for implementing the Child Safeguarding Statement, Children First Guidance, Sport Ireland’s Safeguarding Guidance and in Northern Ireland the Club Framework for Safeguarding Standards.
  • -Safeguarding Principles:
  • -Importance of childhood valued, needs of the child understood, integrity in relationships, fair play, quality atmosphere and ethos, fair competition and equality between all young people.
  • -Compliance with Safeguarding Policy and Guidance:
  • -The IRFU appoints a Safeguarding Chair annually to the Spirit Committee to implement resources and supervise compliance with the policy and Sports Councils’ Guidance.
  • -The IRFU monitors compliance and alleged breaches of policy, it will discuss when necessary for the benefit, protection and information of Age Grade Players and parents where it is reasonable.
  • -The IRFU implement a Case Management Policy that reviews breaches of policy and ensures child protection and welfare issues are correctly reported. It also ensures that existing disciplinary, complaints and appeals procedures of the IRFU are regularly reviewed and accommodate enforcement of this code.
  • -The IRFU Safeguarding Policy is reviewed every 2 years in tune with legislative changes.
  • -Guidance:

-Bullying should always be considered along with the Codes of Conduct. Poor practice should always be tackled early, warnings should be given and in the case of Age-Grade Players especially, there should be an opportunity to correct the poor behaviour.

  • -Bullying includes negative behaviour, verbal, psychological and physical harm to a player.


Derived from Rule 6 of Regulations of the Irish Rugby Football Union 2022:


  • -No material benefit can be offered to a player with the idea to induce the player to move to a new club. A player attending a school cannot be offered material benefit either to induce him to become a member of a club. The Club Affairs Committee can in its decisions review and investigate issues or concerns that it may have relating to any movement or approach to movement of a player.
  • -A player who is registered to one club, and wishes to move to another club must give written notice to the club that he is a registered member of currently.
  • -Following from this, the notice form (Part 1 Appendix 1) available on the IRFU website, must be signed by the player and given to the clubs Secretary, Director of Rugby or Head Coach of the former club, and must be signed by the person in the former club to whom it is being received by way of receipt. They must date it and then return it immediately to the player. The former club can keep a copy.
  • -A player must give notice of his intention to move club before the 1st June if his former club is an All-Ireland League Club or before the 1st September if his former club is a Non All-Ireland League Club.
  • -When the former club and the new club agree that the player can transfer then notice is not required to be given to the former club by the dates specified.
  • -If a player wishes to register with a new club he must complete a registration form (Part 2 Appendix 1) available on the IRFU website with the transfer form (Part 3 Appendix 1) found on the IRFU website completed by the Secretary and Director of Rugby or Head Coach of the new club, to ensure that no material benefit is being issued to the player transferring. This form is completed and then has to be delivered to the branch of the Union of which the new club affiliates with.
  • -The Branch has to then transmit the transfer duly completed to the Union’s Rugby Competition Manager if either club involved in the transfer is an All-Ireland League Club.
  • -A player who is in school can be registered to both a club and a school team (Rule 6.3).
  • -An adult player of a club can only be registered to one club at one time (Rule 6.3).
  • -A player registered with one club, cannot play a competitive match with any other club in Ireland or abroad, unless the player has been granted allowance to register to both (Rule 6.4).

-A player may not transfer if they have played competitive rugby for any other Club (with the exception of under 20’s players pursuant to regulation 5.4) that states that each Branch must have a Branch Disciplinary Committee and a Branch Committee of Appeal which have the power to act in the name of the Branch in dealing with disciplinary cases.

-Any transfers after must be due to exceptional circumstances, for example bullying, safeguarding issues etc. and must be approved by the Sub-Committee. If an Irish player has not played any rugby in Ireland for at least two years, then the need for consent is unnecessary.


  • -If a club has breached the regulations surrounding transfers they shall be entitled to make a complaint concerning the alleged breach to the relevant Branch in accordance with its Bye-Laws and regulations.
  • -When an alleged breach of regulation 6 relates to the registration of a player for any club or competition they shall be entitled to make a complaint to the Union concerning the alleged breach.
  • -Any Branch, club or player shall be entitled to present a written complaint concerning an alleged breach of regulation 6 to the Rugby Administration Manager of the Union for referral to the Club Affairs Committee.
  • -When the complaint is made by the Branch, there firstly must be a process of reasonable review to establish reasonableness of the complaint, and the complaint signed by the Secretary of the Branch.
  • -When the complaint is made by a club, it must be signed by the Secretary of the club and accompanied by €500. The Club Affairs Committee will decide whether it will refund or waive the payment if appropriate to do.
  • -When the complaint is made by a player it must be signed by the player, and accompanied by €100. The Union shall use all reasonable attempts to protect the privacy of a player making a complaint under this regulation. Its then up to the Club Affairs Committee to refund or waive the payment if appropriate.
  • -Any complaint made must be accompanied by appropriate supporting evidence, this may include documents, photographs and signed witness statements.
  • -The Club Affairs Committee must keep in absolute discretion the right to determine whether to investigate a complaint made under regulation 6 on transfers. The Club Affairs Committee can also investigate any matter raised under regulation breach only if it recognises that the authority to determine such matters lies with the Branch and the League Sub Committee.
  • -If the Club Affairs Committee investigated an alleged breach of regulation 6 and has found that the likely probability that a breach of regulation 6 has been committed it will be entitled in its absolute discretion to impose sanctions or penalties on the offending club or player, examples include (a) a caution to future conduct, (b) a fine, (c) deduction of championship points.

APPEALS (Rule 6.8):

  • -Decisions are made by The Club Affairs Committee, the Disciplinary Committee or the League Sub Committee.
  • -Any decision made pursuant to regulation 6 by a Branch Disciplinary Committee can be appealed to the Committee of Appeal of the Branch.
  • -All appeals must be dealt with according to regulations and applicable law applied.
  • -The regulations surrounding transfers are governed by the Irish Law.
  • -Appeals should contain the date of decision that is being appealed, a copy of the decision being appealed, parts of the decision that are being challenged and written consent of appeal from the player or legal guardians.
  • -All documents relied on for the first hearing and any new document’s and reports relied on by the Appellant player, Competitions Compliance Officer or any party to the appeal should be lodged before the hearing. If documents are not produced in advance of the hearing, the Appeals Committee has the right to refuse them.


  • -If the circumstance arises whereby a young player is suffering with their mental wellbeing, and the associated Safeguarding Committees are unable to change the circumstances, it should likely be allowed for that child to transfer to a club where their mental wellbeing will be positive and they will enjoy their training and games played.
  • -If a young players family is moving residence to a new catchment area closer to the club, primarily for schooling reasons also whereby a child can play for a school club alongside an outside club, that such a child wishes to register for membership, according to Rule 6 for transfers, approval should likely be received from the Sub-Committee for exceptional circumstances and transfer be granted.
  • -If a players intention to move club is given by written form before the 1st June for All-Ireland League Clubs and before 1st September for Non All-Ireland League Clubs, then transfer under the circumstances should likely be granted.