Rugby Union power brokers have refused to assist NRL boss David Gallop with the Sonny Bill Williams saga, admitting there is nothing they can do to prevent Sonny Bill Williams from registering a French rugby union contract.
Williams is believed to have inked a two-year deal with Toulon on Tuesday night, despite pleas from the NRL for the International Rugby Board and Australian Rugby Board to intervene.
In a desperate attempt to enforce Williams’ contract, Gallop had written to the IRB for support.
“We’re still asking for the IRB to get involved,” Gallop told 2GB’s Jason Morrison on Tuesday.
“If they (IRB) don’t have jurisdiction over this, who does?
“It would seem that this club (Toulon) could just act in a way that no-one has control over.”
But ARU chief executive John Oâ€™Neill told Gallop the issue was out of his hands.
“John had seen the correspondence we had sent to the IRB and he was sympathetic to our position,” Gallop told News Limited.
“But we both acknowledge that Sonny Bill is a league player, not a rugby union player.
“That means he’s not subject to the normal clearance rules.”
IRB spokesman Greg Thomas said he supported Gallop’s stance but was powerless to step in.
“We are very sympathetic to this – totally. As a world governing body, we don’t condone anybody breaking a contract in any form of employment,” Thomas told News Limited.
“We have regulations for rugby union, which do not allow enticements for players to break contracts. But this player is not governed by our regulations.
“He has chosen as an individual to break a contract he has with his employer. We can only regulate for the game of rugby union. We have received the letter from David Gallop and will respond accordingly.”
It seems the only option available to the NRL will be legal action.