WRU accuse Scarlets of trying to sell North
March 31, 2013
George North is subject of an offer from Northampton Saints © Getty Images
The Welsh Rugby Union has accused the Scarlets of opening talks with French clubs over the transfer of George North without the player's knowledge as the row between the governing body and the regions grows.
The Wales winger, who contract expires at the end of next season, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Welsh region and recently spoke to Northampton Saints about a potential move to the Aviva Premiership. While his loss would hurt the Scarlets on the pitch, his absence from the wage bill would potentially boost their financial standing.
"Scarlets opened discussions to transfer the player with clubs outside the UK in 2012," said a WRU statement. "George refused to consider France but reluctantly conceded he would be prepared to move if Scarlets wished.
"North informed the WRU shortly after the Wales v Ireland RBS Six Nations international on 2 February, 2013 that he had then been told of the transfer proposal."
The WRU claims to have offered to discuss centrally contracting international players in August 2012. But it says they had "no meaningful response" from the regions, who they now believe have reached an agreement not to play centrally contracted players.
"The WRU revisited the issue of George North and agreed to consider assisting in a financial model to retain him in Wales with one of the four regions," the statement added. "In recent days the WRU has discovered that the regions signed an agreement which precludes any of them playing an individual who is centrally contracted to the Union. The WRU urges all four regions to abandon this stance and return to the negotiating table."
The WRU also say they want regions to "abandon the practice of selling Welsh-qualified senior players for profit before their contracts are concluded" and to inform each other when they consider selling or releasing any "elite, Welsh-qualified player".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in Pictures