England Players to be Gagged During World Cup

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It is being reported that England are set to make an unprecedented move by preventing players from writing newspaper columns or making video diaries during the World Cup.

It is believed that this is as a result of a request from Stuart Lancaster to help reduce distractions for his players during the tournament.

The move will not come into effect until the World Cup meaning players are still free to continue in their current commitments during the Autumn International series and Six Nations.

Representatives and agents of the players were informed of the decision at a recent meeting chaired by Sophie Goldschmidt, the Rugby Football Union’s chief commercial officer.

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The directive represents a significant change from the last World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 when the RFU allowed players to write newspaper columns as long as they were cleared by the governing body, which is standard practice during the Six Nations and the QBE series.

There are concerns that this may prevent key players from maximising their commercial value during the tournament, however Lancaster and his team are determined to make sure all of their players are 100 per cent committed to the tournament.

An England Rugby spokesman said: “We feel it is important that the players focus as much as possible on rugby during what will be the most intense period of their rugby careers.”

The carrot for the players is that the potential commercial reward for winning the tournament would outweigh those gained during it.

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The protocol for the last World Cup stated that players should not reveal team selections, injury updates or training schedules, criticise the England management team or make offensive comments about the opposition and that photographs should not cause any offence to the public or opposition. Similar guidelines also applied to the players’ use of Facebook.

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