UFA vs RFA
UFA refers to Unrestricted Free Agent, and RFA refers to Restricted Free Agent. UFA is basically a player that doesn’t belong to any team. This scenario can be a result of three things: Player has been let free by his club, his contract wasn’t renewed after expiration, or he was not selected among the preliminary list of amateur players. This makes UFAs free to explore offers from other teams, and they can choose with which of the various teams to sign a contract.
RFA basically means that a player is free to seek potential teams that may offer a new contract. The rules specifically pertaining to free agents vary from one professional sport to another, but the basic principle of free agency remains the same. However, before the player may sign a contract with a new club, the current club has the right to match the new offer terms, and then the player must remain with the old club, given that the other technicalities are also satisfied.
However, in the case where a player negotiates a new contract with another team, and his former club opts to match the terms, the player is not necessarily free to move back to his former team. This is because, once a player has consented to play for a new team, the contract becomes binding while awaiting the former team’s right of first refusal. Notification of the league about such a contract is done within two business days, and then the player’s former team is allowed seven days to match the terms of the new offer. After the seven days has passed, the contract will become official if the former team failed to do anything. However, the former team may choose to use their Right of First Refusal within the seven days to get cash, by presenting the player with a notice of First Refusal.
When a player takes part in more than six regular games in a season on a team’s active or inactive, or reserved list, then he is said to have an accrued season. When the accrued seasons are more than five, and in the case of a capped year, more than four, the player has reached the end of his contract. He will then become an Unrestricted Free Agent. A player becomes a Restricted Free Agent if he has three accrued seasons or more, or less than four in the case of a capped year, and his contract has expired.
UFA is an Unrestricted Free Agent, while RFA refers to Restricted Free Agent.
Generally, a UFA does not belong to any team, while a RFA belongs to a team, but with ‘conditional’ freedom to seek outside offers.
A player becomes a UFA when he has five or more accrued seasons and his contract has expired, while a player becomes a RFA when he has three accrued seasons or less.