Accreditation scheme to make agents accountable

Player managers who do not sign up for the new Rugby League Accredited Agent Scheme by December 14 will no longer be permitted to negotiate contracts with NRL clubs on behalf of clients.

NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks has written to the agents confirming the introduction of the reformed accreditation scheme, which will ensure they are accountable for their conduct in the same way as players and officials are.

Only contracts negotiated by agents accredited under the new scheme will be registered from December 1 but existing player managers will be automatically accredited if they apply before December 14.

Those who do not sign up by December 14 will need to go through a rigorous application process, in which they would be required to provide references, sit an exam and undergo an interview process with members of the new Agent Accreditation board.

The scheme will be administered by the Rugby League Players Association, with the NRL responsible for investigating and determining breaches of the rules, including the code of conduct.  

The NRL has previously been hamstrung in its ability to investigate or sanction agents over large-scale salary cap scandals, such as those at Parramatta and Manly.

There would be no maximum term for contracts between players and agents but after two years a player could terminate the agreement by providing three months' notice.

This is expected to reduce the number of disputes between players and agents, which include several high-profile cases in which big-name players have not officially re-signed with their clubs as they want to change managers.

The NRL has been working towards a more rigorous accreditation scheme for player managers since early this year and has held meetings with the newly formed Rugby League Player Agents Association.

The introduction of the scheme was delayed from November 1 to enable further consultation between the parties and all agents were invited to attend meetings in Brisbane and Sydney to provide feedback and ask questions.