Denny in fact did not go from one club to the other, but retired from League and joined Union, as they are considered different sports; this being the way Solomona’s sneaky agent worked things out with Sale. Although going to court was definitely not what both sides wanted, Tigers Chairman Steve Gill said it “is for the integrity of all sports, including, of course, Rugby Union clubs”, and looking at things this way, I agree.
When David Seligman spoke to BBC Sport on the situation, he said that it could result in something very similar to the ‘Bosman Ruling’, which is the law introduced in 1995, which allowed Football players within the EU to move freely among clubs with no transfer fee when their contract was up. If this happens, we could see a shift in the way contracts are looked at.
Castleford are not on their own in this case, with the full backing of the RFL and their Chief Executive Nigel Wood, who broadcasted their support stating that; “…the RFL believes that it is a fundamental point of principle for all sports that both players and clubs adhere to the terms of signed contracts between them…”. But shouldn’t this go without saying? Both players and clubs alike should treat their contracts like any other industry; at the end of the day being a professional player is like any other job, so why treat it any different?
But, with there always being 2 sides to a story, Sale director of Rugby, Steve Diamond believes that they haven’t “…done anything wrong at all to be perfectly honest…” which I think quite a few people would have something to say about, but he further went on to say that; “…From day one Sale have acted in the best interests of Sale and have done everything legitimately by the book.”.
If what Sale are arguing is true, then I don’t see what Tigers could do to resolve the problem on their behalf, as at the end of the day, Denny technically switched sports. Now to us Rugby fans, we know it’s not that simple, with years of tension between the codes and legality becoming a big player in the modern game with potential changes with residency and other big topics, meaning that the case could be quite interesting and could potentially have a big impact.
This clever decision by Solomona may soon not be the only one of it’s kind in recent weeks, as Racing’s 24 year old Goosen made the decision to ‘retire’ and take a position in South Africa as a Commercial Director, which made everyone over at the French side fuming considering his contract was only renegotiated around a year ago. According to a report on the French website ‘Midi Olympique’ stated the 2015/16 Top14 player of the year is linked with doing big things, including a potential move to Gloucester.
The fact that these things are becoming more apparent and regular within Rugby means that things could become one big mess when it comes to the world of transfers, and something could do with being done.
At the end of the day, no matter which side the decision falls, even if Sale have to pay out the remaining 2 years, it will be a hell of a lot cheaper than the potential price tag if the Tigers are willing to go to court over him, plus they’re probably going to sign George Ford now Bath have allowed him to leave at the end of the season, so I doubt they can be too down. But were Sale in the wrong? Or are Castleford just having a tantrum because they got tripped up?