International Player Clearance
What is an International Clearance?
International Clearances are a requirement under the International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulations which apply to all countries that are members of the IRB.
A player is not eligible to play rugby in another country at any level until they have a valid International Clearance. This could mean that a club or Provincial Rugby Union that plays a player could face sanctions such as loss of points.
Clearance from New Zealand to Another Country
The clearance process is simple when done correctly, however, it can take some time if the process has not been followed correctly before the time of the player’s departure.
Player completes International Rugby Board (IRB) clearance form
The player must complete the IRB clearance form and sign the bottom of the first page where space is given. The form can be downloaded below, or it can be obtained from the club, Provincial Rugby Union or the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Most National Unions will not accept a IRB clearance form without the following fields completed (New Zealand Rugby Union included):
- Name of Provincial Rugby Union and club where the player is registered currently
- Name of National Union where player is affiliated
- National Union where the player proposed to register and play (“New Union”)
- New club (if known)
An IRB clearance form that is sent to the National Unions without stating what Union the player is coming from and going to cannot be processed.
- Current rugby club signs and approves the form
- Provincial Rugby Union signs and approves the form
- Provincial Rugby Union sends the form to the NZRU. Once the Provincial Rugby Union has approved the clearance they will then send the completed IRB clearance form to the NZRU. The NZRU will record the information on the form and finalise the Clearance.
- NZRU sends the form to New National Rugby Union. The New Zealand Rugby Union send the approved IRB clearance form to the new National Union and the departed Provincial Rugby Union. The NZRU will not send a copy of the IRB clearance form to the clubs due to the volume of clearance forms. Clubs can obtain a copy of the completed form from their Provincial Rugby Union.
Clearance from Another Country to New Zealand
- The same process as above occurs when playing in another country, before a player can return to play rugby in New Zealand.
- Approval must be obtained from the international club, provincial union and National Union where the player is registered and playing, and the approved clearance is then sent to the New Zealand Rugby Union, and the provincial union they are intending to play (e.g. Canterbury).
Reasons Why a Clearance can be Withheld or Not Required
- If the player has not fulfilled any of their obligations including unpaid debts under their contract with the club or Union (IRB Reg 4.6.4) the clearance can be declined or withheld.
- The player played in another country and then returned, however, that player did not apply for an inbound clearance at that time. When the player applies for an outbound clearance again, it can be declined until that player completes the inbound clearance from their previous National Union.
- If a player can not be found in the New Zealand Rugby Union database then the player will not require a clearance out to play in another country. He will be assumed as a non-New Zealand registered player.
- If the IRB clearance form has not been signed by the player, club, Provincial Rugby Union or National Union.
Download an International Clearance Form: International Clearance Form