The South Sydney Rabbitohs are excited to announce the signing of Australian Kangaroos, New South Wales State of Origin, indigenous All Stars representative and dual-premiership winner Latrell Mitchell on a one-year contract for season 2020 with an option on his services in the Club’s favour for season 2021. Picture: Rabbitohs
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are excited to announce the signing of Australian Kangaroos, New South Wales State of Origin, indigenous All Stars representative and dual-premiership winner Latrell Mitchell on a one-year contract for season 2020 with an option on his services in the Club’s favour for season 2021. Picture: Rabbitohs

Sporting contracts not worth the paper they are written on

OPINION: When is an employment contract not a contract?

When it is a contract signed by a sporting club and a player or coach.

In today’s sporting world I don’t believe contracts are worth the paper they are written on.

Case in point, Latrell Mitchell and the soap opera that has been the past few months watching which club he may sign for.

Mitchell had a contract for the 2020 NRL season with the Sydney Roosters and was looking for a contract in 2021 and beyond.

The Roosters presented an upgraded offer but he believed Mitchell was worth more.

After meeting with the Tigers, Cowboys and who knows who else he signed with the Rabbitohs for a figure similar to what was offered by the Roosters.

Ryan Matterson is another example of contracts apparently meaning very little.

After winning the 2018 NRL grand final with the Sydney Roosters, Matterson defected to the Wests Tigers.

But the Tigers utility became disgruntled as the season progressed and was granted leave from training and given permission to negotiate with rival clubs in September.

Matterson fell out with coach Michael Maguire after feeling he was made to play while injured at certain points during the season.

It is also understood the ex-Rooster grew unhappy with his $350,000 salary and wanted an upgrade after knocking on the door of an Origin debut, a claim he has denied.

He subsequently signed with Parramatta for the 2020 season.

It works in reverse as well, when clubs sign players for a lengthy period and halfway through the contract the club decides they don’t want them anymore.

They let the player know they are not in the club’s plan for the future or that they are free to negotiate with other clubs.

Sport is supposed to be built on teams and everyone working together to achieve their goal of a championship.

It appears in reality that is not the case.

Players and clubs look for the best opportunity as traders do in business, with the club’s or player’s self interests coming before the team.

Why bother with long-term contracts if they really don’t seem to matter?

Perhaps it is time to follow the Indian Premier League cricket model where every year all players go into a pool and the highest bidder wins.

The current model is clearly not working.