Rugby League Star’s Controversial Move To Sale Could Change Rugby Forever
This is an interesting one.
The legal battle over Denny Solomona’s contract could have a huge impact on both rugby codes in a way the Bosman ruling affected football many years ago, according to a prominent sports lawyer.
Solomana shocked his former Super League club Castleford Tigers when he retired from rugby league with two years remaining on his contract and subsequently joined Premiership rugby union side Sale Sharks on a three-year deal.
The 23-year-old made his debut on Sunday in Sale’s 24-10 European Champions Cup defeat by Saracens. Castleford are taking legal action “as a last resort”, with the Tigers suing for damages against Sale, Solomona and Andy Clark, his agent, at the High Court in Leeds.
“It may lead to something that has an effect like Bosman – it has the potential to be like that,” said David Seligman, a sports lawyer at CM Solicitors, who also works as a football agent.
Former footballer Jean-Marc Bosman famously took his own case to the European courts and, in December 1995, won, setting a precedent allowing footballers to leave their club for no transfer fee once their contract had expired.
The legal battle for Solomona has been more than 120 years in the making, according to professor Tony Collins, a world leader in both rugby codes from the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University.
“The case throws up a huge amount of issues that have either been under the surface in both games or ones that are inevitably going to arise as rugby becomes more commercialised and professionalised,” he told BBC Sport.
“One problem in dealing with issues like this is that there is well over a century of, at times, hostility, sometimes distrust and always a mutual incomprehension.”
Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood has said he is worried about the “implications for the game” as the “sanctity of contracts need to be respected”.”\