Devon RFU Junior Section Voluntary Code of Practice

Subject: Under 18 Player Transfer & Squad Size


 The DRFU’s Mini/Junior Section are committed to support the game of rugby throughout Devon, and  want to promote the RFU’s core values of sportsmanship, discipline, teamwork, respect and enjoyment. 

Key to this commitment is to ensure that all young players have the best opportunity to participate in the game of rugby at their local club, whilst also recognising that players will move between clubs for good and proper reasons. However, it is also recognised that the movement of players can also be disruptive for other players at both of the clubs involved. It has been identified therefore that there is a need in Devon for an agreed framework within which player movement takes place in a considered way, in the best interests of both players and clubs. It cannot be stressed enough that all clubs have a duty to support junior rugby and work together to try and ensure that we do not lose an age group within a Club as a result of boys/girls transferring to another club.

The Devon Junior and Mini Section make every effort to work closely with the Developing Players Programme (DPP) and FE Colleges. We recognise that whilst all involved are seeking to develop players there are times when the personal interest of an individual coach can create situations where players seek to transfer between clubs. We recognised that both the DPP and FE Colleges have an important part to play in the development of our players and therefore we will seek to facilitate regular communications and meetings between the Clubs and representatives of both of these bodies to improve relationships. This we believe will also help in addressing any issues raised by Clubs at an early stage with we hope a speedy resolution if any issues are identified.   

 Scope of the Voluntary Code of Practice (VCOP)

1. Procedure for the Transfer between Clubs 

 1.1. Any player wishing to move to another club must speak with their own coach or a club official prior to leaving the existing club;

1.2. Prior to any movement of a player taking place a discussion should take place between appropriate persons (coach, club official) from each club as to the reasons for the transfer, and an agreement reached;

1.3. An appropriate person from the receiving club should send a Transfer Request letter to the sending club which the sending club should sign and return;

1.4. The player wishing to move may now move to the new club and train with the club, but may not play for that club for 14 days from the date on the transfer form. If that player has played for a Club in a round of a Devon Cup or League game he cannot then play for any other Club in a Devon Cup competition unless there are exceptional circumstances and this is agreed by the Devon Junior and Mini Sub Committee;

1.5. It shall be the responsibility of the sending club to ensure that the player’s RFU registration card is transferred to the receiving club (ideally together with the signed Transfer Request letter)

1.6. It shall be the responsibility of the receiving club to administer the Rugby First website in respect of moving the player between the two clubs and also informing the DRFU of the move via the dedicated email address

1.7. At all times the officials at both clubs should act in the best interests of the player whilst taking into account the best interests of both clubs concerned.

2. Inducement

2.1. No adult, acting either directly or indirectly, on behalf of any affiliated club may induce a player from another club to move from that club;

2.2. This action will be seen by the DRFU as gross misconduct and as such will be treated as a disciplinary matter with action taken the relevant adult by DRFU.  

3. Squad Size (U13s-U18s inclusive)

3.1. When determining whether a player should move between clubs, club officials at both clubs should consider the potential impact to the teams concerned. Small squads may be impacted in such a way that the player leaving could cause that squad to fold and this should be avoided if at all possible. Equally a player moving to a large squad will impact on the game time available to other squad members;

3.2. It is strongly recommended that the registered players in each age group squad should predominantly be living within the geographical catchment of that Club or going to School in that area and the squad should be no bigger than can be justified to support one club team. We envisage that a guideline for this would be a maximum of 30 players within the 13 – 16 age groups and 40 within Colts;

3.3. To ensure that this is monitored any Club who has a large squad and sees the squad size exceed 30/40 registered players will be required to notify the DRFU’s Mini/Junior Section of this situation setting out why this is the case. 

4. Dispute and Arbitration

4.1. Should there be occasions when clubs cannot agree the terms of a transfer of a player between one club and another. If this is the case then the matter should be raised immediately to the DRFU’s Mini/Junior Section for consideration;

4.2. The Officers of the DRFU Mini/Junior Section will then recommend the best course of action in respect of the dispute, recognising the needs of the player but also the wider impact of the proposed transfer;

4.3. The Clubs concerned will have the right of appeal against this decision and this will be heard by the Devon RFU Management Board.

5. Rewards and Sanctions

5.1. Clubs who are part of, and adhere to the VCOP will qualify for rewards from the DRFU at the end of each season. These rewards may vary from year to year and will be determined by the DRFU Junior and Mini Sub Committee. The rewards would be agreed by the Junior and Mini Sub Committee and could simply mean that Clubs could access any small grants available for player development;

5.2. If an affiliated club is suspected of not adhering to the VCOP then a reminder of the clubs responsibility within the VCOP will be sent to that clubs executive committee with a request for an explanation as to their actions;

5.3. If it felt that the actions breached these guidelines then a Club would be required to appoint an Internal Disciplinary Panel to investigate and, take appropriate action on disciplinary matters and members’ conduct, and to generally maintain discipline within their club;

5.4. Devon RFU would require the Club to inform them of their action and the decision reached;

5.5. If DRFU find that an affiliated club is found not to be adhering to the VCOP it will not receive an award and would then then be potentially open to the following sanctions:

  • A warning letter would be sent to the clubs executive committee regarding future behaviour;
  • Expulsion from that seasons county cup competition for the age group committing the transgression (or from the following seasons county cup competition if the transgression takes place after that seasons competition is completed)


 As already stated the DRFU Mini/Junior Section is committed to supporting the game of rugby throughout Devon and to act in the best interests of those playing rugby within the county. Clubs affiliated to this VCOP are also seen as being part of this wider interest, acting responsibly and promoting the development of all young people whilst also striving to retain those players already playing at their chosen club.

Please find below and agreement to be completed and returned to

 DRFU Mini/Junior Section

 Agreed at the DRFU Management Board Meeting

September 2017