George Ford has signed a three-year contract with Sale Sharks; Ford said it has been “the most difficult decision of my career” to leave Leicester, who are 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership table
Last Updated: 17/11/21 2:02pm
Sale Sharks have confirmed the signing of George Ford ahead of next season after the England fly-half decided against extending his stay at Leicester Tigers.
Ford informed Leicester that he would not be activating an option in his contract to continue with the club beyond the current campaign and will now join Alex Sanderson’s squad in July 2022 on a three-year deal.
The 28-year-old started his career at Leicester, winning a Premiership title in 2013, and spent four years with Bath before returning to Welford Road in 2017.
“It has been the most difficult decision of my career,” Ford said in a statement on the Leicester website. “I am proud and grateful to represent this great club at Leicester and I will give my all for the rest of my time at Tigers.”
Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick said Ford would be “fully committed” to the club for the remainder of the season, with Tigers currently 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership.
“George has made a personal decision, which he informed us of earlier this week, which means this will be his final season in Leicester,” Borthwick said.
“I have had the pleasure of working with him for a number of years, with England and now here at Tigers, and I am grateful to have had that privilege.
“We are fortunate to have the best following in rugby, who have been able to enjoy watching George represent their club for many years and I am sure they will echo me in thanking him for his contribution to Tigers.
“There are still a lot of games to be played in this season and George is fully committed to finishing his time at Leicester Tigers in front of big crowds at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, which our supporters can be proud of and to share in success with them.”
Ford, who has won 77 caps for England, is the league’s leading points scorer this season with 107 and Sale boss Sanderson believes his club are getting a “world class” player in his prime.
“George Ford is world class – one of the very best fly-halves in the game over the past five years,” Sanderson told the Sale website. “This season he’s probably playing the best rugby of his career so we’re getting him at the right time.
“I met him twice and we had the chance to show him around the ground and the fact that he’s taken this decision, in the form that he’s in, with Leicester doing so well, tells me that he believes in the ambition of this club, and in the culture that we’re building.
“He’s a northerner and his heart is very much in this area. He’s been away for some years now but he’s coming back to his spiritual home. His family is hugely important to him and I know that his life outside rugby has played a part in this move.”
He added: “The exciting thing for me is that he’s 28 years old, and he’s coming here in the form of his life. We aspire to be a major force in the Premiership and in Europe too and we’ve got one of the world’s best fly-halves in his pomp.
“It’s massively exciting but not just because of how talented he is. When I’ve spoken to him it’s clear that he wants to help us bring the younger players in our squad on. He has so much desire to lift the people around him and that’s the kind of person I want here.
“It’s a massive boost for the club and it’s a big indication of what we’re all about and where we’re trying to get to.”