Dear John ... an open letter

16/01/2013

Frank Quinn pens an open letter to all athletes.

I hear your contract is running out with the IRFU shortly and you and your agents have put it about that you have received a gigantic offer from a French Club.

It looks like the agents won this one, if they get you a better deal with the IRFU or flog you off to a foreign club with a much better salary – they win, do you?

The going rate in the IRFU for your calibre of player is around the €400,000 per annum, (Heaslip, O’Connell, O’Driscoll) so if you get +€500,000 to move then take it. The IRFU will bow out gracefully, too rich for them and wish you luck. 

You are twenty seven years old, getting married this year, move to a new country, new environment, and learn a new language- if you don’t have good French. Have fun; learn a new way of life and a different brand of rugby. I think it is a make or break time for you re: going abroad.

If you are really excited and enthusiastic about going, improving your rugby and about the money, then I recommend that you go for it, it’s your time. Nothing is forever anymore.

Go for a three year contract, salary, continuity, confidence and commitment are the key notes to a new contract. The usual team bonus payments will apply to you.

It is already built in by the IRB that you have to be released for scheduled international games.

Your agents have to agree a price with the IRFU for each international game that you are invited to play.

In the contract your agents will set a maximum number of games you can play in a season for your new club.

Don’t worry about the income tax rebate for sportspersons, the salary increase more than takes care of that and at the end of your career (circa 2020) take a look at the fine print, which specifies finishing your career in Ireland. You could end up as player/coach – professional at St. Marys College and claim a percentage of tax back for the last six years.

You should not consider going on the Lions tour in June to Australia 2013, with a bit of luck you will be playing in finals in May and at the end of the year most athletes carry an injury. Take a holiday, let the injuries heal, get married and turn up in July for pre-season in France at 100% fitness.

Now the Lions tour offers around €40,000 per player for the trip for a ten match tour. This is small beer compared with your new three year salary contract and you do not have to hobble in with a Lions injury for a medical at the new training ground.

You miss nothing, the Lions tour has no significance or value in France, they just wonder why it takes players from four countries to go to Australia – they hockeyed Australia by thirty points in November.

Get yourself a super nice apartment near the training ground to avoid travel; if your future wife is interested and does not have fluent French, she can enrol for three mornings a week in a language school to brush up while you are training.

If you want to sneak home for a couple of quick weekend visits to the families – have your weekend bags in the car at the game. Remember the Roy Keane advice, first win the match, kicking to your 75% ratio – then step up to the happy boss and say is it ok to take a run home. He will say sure – off you go, however be sure to be on time for the training session on your return.

Yours

Frank Quinn

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