Bath Rugby deny deal to sign Leicester Tigers' George Ford has been agreed
Bath Rugby have denied there is any deal in place to bring Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford to the club this summer.
The Leicester Mercury reports today that contract talks between Tigers and the England under-20 international have broken down and Ford has decided to join Bath, where his father, Mike Ford, is a first-team coach.
Bath head coach Gary Gold, however, dismissed the idea that the club had reached an agreement to sign Ford.
"Obviously George is a good player and I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and say that he isn't, but there's no deal in place," said Gold.
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"The simple situation is that we are not allowed to be speaking to players like George because he is covered by a movement management protocol.
"He hasn't signed with the club and at this stage we are not allowed to have a conversation with him.
"We are an easy club to label him to but we've got Tom Heathcote and Stephen Donald under contract here.
"My understanding is that there is no official statement from Leicester on it – it's all speculation.
"From our point of view, we are not actually allowed to speak to England under-20 players. Nobody is for that matter.
"By the terms set out by the stipulation of the Professional Game Board and the PRL we are not allowed to be speaking to those players, so to that end he hasn't signed with us."
It is understood that Ford was offered a lucrative two-year deal to remain at Leicester but the 19-year-old sees his future away from Welford Road in a bid to secure more regular playing time.
Ford made his Tigers debut as a 16-year-old in 2009 and won the IRB Young Player of the Year award two years later, but with England fly-half Toby Flood under contract at the club until 2014, the youngster has seen his starting chances limited.