Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Ross Skeate Diary - Contract Negotiations 101

Ross is back with another interesting diary entry for RD today. This week he's back in Cape Town, thinking out loud about Charlize Theron, rugby players being old at 27, and Jacob Zuma's five wives. There's a little bit about contracts in there too.

Hello from Cape Town! No I haven’t returned to the Stormers, but we’ve got a week off and my brother is getting married. Quite convenient really.

But while that’s happening it’s the time of year when the casual and not so casual back and forth of contract negotiations takes place. Or as I like to refer to it: "What the hell is going on!?"

It's at this stage of the European season where it's all about contract negotiations and recruiting. I can almost hear the simultaneous smacking of every agent's lips as we speak.

Of course this is something that the public is somewhat privy to. The huge media saturation of the multi-million Pound and Euro signings of soccer stars - and some big name rugby stars too - have all added to the cause.

Mourad hasn't mentioned anything about my offer yet by the way (see last week’s column) - I knew I should have bought him the Marge Simpson edition of Playboy instead. He is after all, into comics.

But I digress, basically it's now that the clubs across the UK and Europe will be recruiting new players and re-signing new deals. The UK is admittedly a lot quicker on the draw than France, but our club for example has seen the renewal of contracts like Jonny Wilkinson’s and Joce Suta's, as well as a few newbies packing their berets and cheese boards for a southern French move.

Of course the major questions on everyone’s lips - there's that smacking noise again - is the permutations with regard to the quota's recently instituted in the French league. Those aren't just the quotas requiring 40% of each squad to be French nationals this year (I think it's 40%, and re-nationalized individuals also count), but also a new tax structure making each player that much more expensive for each club. Get it? Well it’s got some of us wondering too…

The first quota I can understand but the new taxing requirements just seem like an attempt at controlling the large amounts of cash in some contracts. Note to self: renegotiate fee with Mourad to maybe only 1.1 million Euro. Either way they are here to stay, the quotas that is and not distribution of the Marge Simpson edition Playboy's, and stay they shall, just like Jacob Zuma's five wives.

The first quota, the one to do with the amount of French Nationals in each squad, rises from year to year. This of course affects the smaller, 'younger' clubs more so than it does the established big name clubs like Toulouse, Clermont etc and that's because those clubs are the primary breeding grounds for the French National team.

They contain the majority of the best French players in the country (their stated ambition is to develop or buy the best young French talent). And 'newer' clubs, 'newer' as in newer to the Top 14 and non-Heineken cup playing clubs like Toulon, and Racing-Metro, who have a number of non-French players, shall have a tougher time of it.

But then this seems to be a symptom of the difference between the French domestic set up and the UK one (and South Africa and New Zealand for that matter). With the lack of salary cap and less stringent tax laws in France, there has certainly been a large influx of foreign players into the country.

Great weather, a strong Euro, and a flourishing rugby culture are just a few things that help that transition and so this then becomes a problem in some areas when people feel that foreign internationals are stunting the growth of young French talent as a result. Thus we see the institution of the quotas, which I have to admit I do agree with.

Of course in a country such as England, with clubs being privately owned as in France, a few of the same issues arise, but the lure of the English market has proven less powerful than that of the French for the time being. Continued...

:: View article on single page ::

Ross, who's played for the Stormers and the Barbarians, has a really interesting website that features plenty of behind the scenes photos, podcasts, and latest news on life with Toulon.

We'll hear back from him soon, but until then, check out www.RossSkeate.com.



  • First.....GET IN THERE!!!!....again;-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2010 5:41 pm  

  • I love these articles, they're well written, funny and interesting while at the same time they offer an insight that you're not going to read in any sports section of the paper. Keep up the good work RD and Ross.

    By Blogger Box, at February 11, 2010 6:05 pm  

  • THIRD!! AVE IT!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2010 6:57 pm  

  • Interesting article. And as a French, I feel I have to comment on this one.

    First of all, quotas. Like Ross Skeate, I do agree that the quota on international players is essential. A good example is English football : while their clubs appears to be the strongest in Europe, their national team is quite shitty. This is because there are waaaay too few Englishmen in the clubs, like in Arsenal (they even played some matches without any English players on the field !). These clubs rely on youngsters trained in other countries (France in particular) where clubs spend a lot more money to train them. No good training centers in England = no good English national team.

    Speaking of which, this quota isn't much about favouring older clubs over "younger" : Toulon and RM92 made their choices, which is to throw a lot of money on big, foreign names instead of funding big formation centrers. The French Rugby Federation is also responsible for the national team, it is in their sheer interest to favour this latter point of view.

    As for the "second quota", it made quite a fuss in France several months ago. In fact, there was a special tax offer (DIC, "Droit à l'image collective") that allowed clubs to skim off something like 20 or 30% of a player salary. Because of the financial crisis, this preferential tax system is being questioned. It might be not very good for French sports, but it is actually quite fair. By the way, I think it's the very first time I see someone stating that French tax laws are less stringent that English ones.

    By Blogger Nathan, at February 11, 2010 8:01 pm  

  • Seriously who the hell is ross skeate?
    Ive never heard of him in my life!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2010 3:48 am  

  • I think that's what I like about these Ross Skeate Diary features on RD - he writes well, especially for a high-level rugby player.

    He also seems like a genuinenly nice guy, so it's all around good stuff.

    The anonymous above me does have a bit of a point...it'd be nice if Skeate were capped more for Toulon. He played some pretty good rugby for the Stormers, so you'd think he'd get in there more at Toulon...

    By Anonymous smicks, at February 12, 2010 9:36 am  

  • ^ You need to get out more.
    OR, just broaden your horizons.

    He's played for WP, the Stormers, the Emerging Boks, the Barbarians, and now Toulon.

    Very interesting read. Nice to hear a player speak so candidly. Thanks

    By Anonymous FrankyH, at February 12, 2010 9:52 am  

  • 'He's played for WP, the Stormers, the Emerging Boks, the Barbarians, and now Toulon.'

    oh, the emerging boks, is that what they're called now? i seem to recall they were called the 'fake boks' when they were beaten badly on more than one occasion this autumn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2010 10:21 am  

  • Anonymous above, nobody is interested in your ignorant opionion. Stanting aggressively your general fucktardness won't make it look cooler.
    Now fuck off

    By Anonymous tehsniper, at February 12, 2010 1:52 pm  

  • *stating

    By Anonymous tehsniper, at February 12, 2010 1:53 pm  

  • I can't stand this guy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2010 1:54 pm  

  • In fact, mr smartarse Anonymous, the Emerging Boks is a different team entirely. So try thinking before you write pls? Cheers mate

    Nice feature. Ross was, in my opinion anyway, pretty close to being a Bok a few years back after some good seasons with WP. Talented player.

    By Anonymous Cane, at February 12, 2010 4:27 pm  

  • 'In fact, mr smartarse Anonymous, the Emerging Boks is a different team entirely. So try thinking before you write pls? Cheers mate'

    no, what an excuse, you are wrong and you know it. and i'm not sure mate, you understand that. idiot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2010 8:19 pm  

  • No, YOU dont know what you're talking about, and you don't make sense grammatically either, so I cant tell what your agenda is.

    The Springbok 'Dirtrekkers' (midweek team) lost to Saracens and Leicester. The Emerging Springboks are normally made up of young, up and coming players (as the name suggests).

    They play annually in a tournament in Romania, called the IRB Nations Cup. Last year they didn't play in it because they played against the British and Irish Lions instead. This year I suppose they will play in it again.

    So mr ignorant, nobody is making excuses about anything. You however are going out of your way to stir sh*t for no reason other than to put down a player/team/country.

    On top of that, you're commenting Anonymously which according to the site rules, should be deleted. So grow up, don't be a twat, or take it elsewhere please. Thanks.

    By Anonymous Cane, at February 12, 2010 8:37 pm  

  • ....so cane what you're saying is the springboks did lose to club teams then right?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2010 2:12 am  

  • Ross ! The truth is that you're a latin who ignore it.
    Ride on man ! 4 more years with us !

    a Toulon fan

    By Anonymous 4LC4TR4Z, at February 13, 2010 9:08 am  

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