World Rugby’s Agustin Pichot criticizes sport’s residency rules
World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot calls for residency rule to be amended
“Somebody will kill me but we need to change it,” said Agustín Pichot
The 41-year-old former Pumas scrumhalf was elected vice-chairman on Wednesday
New World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot says the game’s current three-year residency rule is “wrong” and has called for it to be amended to ensure national teams retain their identity.
The former Argentine scrum-half insisted that the current situation, where players can play for a country they have no affiliation to after playing in the country for three consecutive years, had to end.
He was speaking in Dublin on Wednesday at the official announcement of his new role, alongside new chairman Bill Beaumont.
“Somebody will kill me but we need to change it,” Pichot said. “I think it is wrong. It should be for life, like in football. I would understand a five-year [qualification period] and I think that will be on the agenda in the next six months.
“I think it is very important to keep the identity of our national teams. As a cultural thing, as an inspiration to new kids, I think having on your team players who have not lived [for long] in the country they are [representing] I think it’s not right.
“There are special cases where players moved when they were ten or twelve years old but just moving to a country, being taken from an Academy, like they are doing in Tonga, and put into play, say, in an Ireland shirt, I’m against it. I think it is not right.
“I would love him to play in Tonga and make money playing for Tonga and live well.
“When I see the national anthem and people not singing it, it confuses me a little bit. I don’t see in the near future Argentina having players from other countries.”