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Rugby league: South Sydney Rabbitohs offered $1m to release Sam Burgess to rugby

Switch: Sam Burgess' move could known soon.

Switch: Sam Burgess' move could known soon. Photo: Getty Images

South Sydney have been offered a $1 million transfer fee to release Sam Burgess from the remaining three years of his contract to join English rugby union at the end of the season.

It is understood the Rabbitohs were officially contacted about the move for the first time last week and told Bath would pay £500,000 ($926,000) compensation to release him at the end of the season. The approach follows weeks of confusion about whether the deal would proceed as rival English clubs opposed plans by the Rugby Football Union to pay a transfer fee to enable Burgess to play for one of their opponents.

Bath appear to have now found the money elsewhere and there was speculation that an announcement may be made on Monday. The move would enable Burgess to play in next year's Rugby World Cup and any doubts that England plan to use him were dispelled when Bath owner Bruce Craig revealed on the weekend that the RFU had instigated the 25-year-old's code switch.

''Bath were contacted by the RFU and we were informed that a number of premiership clubs were also contacted and told that the RFU were interested in bringing Sam Burgess into rugby union,'' Craig told The Times.

''Those clubs were contacted and told of the opportunity: that Sam would be put on the market because the RFU would be paying the transfer fee. That is the truth. What we were told was they [the Rabbitohs] would release Sam from his contract and there would be an open market among the English clubs to bring Sam into the English game.''

It is believed the deal with Bath is for three years and he will play out the season with the Rabbitohs.

After bringing Burgess to Australia in 2010, Souths would be unlikely to stand in his way if he wanted to return home but compensation for the loss of one of the NRL's best forwards complicated the deal. It is understood Burgess was first approached about the switch during last year's Rugby League World Cup by former Great Britain and Wigan skipper Andy Farrell, who is now on England's coaching staff.

He told Souths co-owner Russell Crowe about his interest in the move before Christmas.

Twitter - @BradWalterSMH

5 comments so far

  • Hey Burgess....don't forget to close the door on the way out....

    no great loss to the NRL,given this bloke has developed an unsavoury reputation in the game,with some very unusual behaviour...particularly against Melbourne

    Commenter
    Bugs Bunny
    Location
    Redfern
    Date and time
    February 16, 2014, 10:18PM
    • Myself and all the Redfern mob I've yarned to are furious at how this has developed. The lies and denials have been sickening. As far as Im concerned Sam can go tomorrow - I will personally drive him to Mascot airport in my Kingswood. Anyway we already have a likely premiership-winning team assembled - Inglis, Merritt, Reynolds, Luke are the real stars... and now Lote. Sorry Sam, you are no longer needed. Glory Glory to South Sydney!

      Commenter
      Bouncing Bunny of Struggle Street
      Date and time
      February 17, 2014, 12:31AM
      • And now that Merritt has proven he is not good enough for origin and that the selectors were correct in leaving him out all along you get him all season! Good for you. Have a a good moan at origin time all the same. Wouldn't be origin season without the Merritt moans.

        Commenter
        The Sturgeon
        Location
        Sesame St
        Date and time
        February 17, 2014, 10:49AM
    • A "dirty" player. Hope South take up the offer and release him.

      Commenter
      Tommy
      Date and time
      February 17, 2014, 9:29AM
      • LOL @ the Bouncing Bunny and his premiership line-up !!! lolololololol

        Roosters will go back to back. Everybody knows it and deep down, you do too :)

        Commenter
        TonyTheRooster
        Location
        A plush Bondi apartment
        Date and time
        February 17, 2014, 11:22AM

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