Premiership salary cap will rise to £5m for 2014-15 season
Premiership Rugby confirms that its salary cap will rise to £5m for the 2014/2015 season
Premiership Rugby has confirmed that its salary cap will rise to £5m for the 2014/2015 season.
Reviewed every January, the latest announcement will allow clubs in the Aviva Premiership to spend £5m on players’ wages, including academy players.
It’s great to be playing in the Premiership where there is a salary cap and the key thing is that it needs to be enforced
It still permits one marquee player who has been at the club for more than two salary cap years to be excluded from the cap.
Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said: “The Premiership Rugby clubs have approved this increase following the financial boost given by the new contract with BT Sport and the renewal of the competition’s title sponsorship, with Aviva.
“This reflects the policy agreed by the clubs in 2011 to align the salary cap to the financial distributions Premiership Rugby makes to the clubs.”
“The objective of the salary cap is to control inflationary pressures on clubs’ costs, and to provide a level playing field for clubs to ensure a competitive Aviva Premiership Rugby competition.
“These objectives are borne out in the financial success the league is now seeing with more clubs breaking even, and a healthy turnover of teams at the top of the league with three different winners in as many years. Aviva Premiership Rugby is the most competitive league in world rugby.”
Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby welcomed the rise of the salary cap, which he sees as a way of ensuring equality across the Premiership.
But he doesn’t believe the increase will result in a glut of players joining English clubs as they struggle to head off the spending power of French clubs.
Speaking to The Sport Review, Smith said: “We haven’t been spending up to the salary cap for the last few seasons, so hopefully going forward with our new owners we will be. I think that half a million pounds is welcomed by all the clubs because there’s significant salary inflation.
“There’s an inflationary effect because of all the French clubs putting pressure on players. Their agents come back to the club and squeeze another five or 10 grand. Multiply that over 30 or 40 players and you very quickly chew up that half a million pounds, so I don’t think clubs will be racing out and buying [New Zealand stand-off] Dan Carter with that money, they’ll be trying to keep their players happy.
“The inflationary effect and the demand for players from France is having an impact on all of our business.
“All of the Scottish provinces, the Irish, Welsh and English clubs, we’re all feeling the impact of the power that goes with France so it’s great to be playing in the Premiership where there is a salary cap and I think the key thing is that it needs to be enforced.
“Obviously that’s not always straight forward. We’ve just come out of the Amlin Challenge Cup and we’ve been playing against Stade Français.
“They’ve got a €25m budget which is probably five or six times what we spend on our rugby programme so Europe’s not a level playing field, but at least the Premiership is trying to be a level playing field, that’s got to be applauded.”
Like French counterpart the Top 14, top-flight rugby in England has been boosted by increased TV revenue which adds to the misery of Celtic rugby, with world-class players from Wales, Scotland and Ireland securing bumper pay deals to join English and French clubs.
Uncertainty over the future of the European Cup and which domestic competition the Welsh regions will play in continues to plague professional rugby in Wales.
Captain Sam Warburton, prolific goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny and front-row power house Adam Jones are all courted in England and France.
Several of Wales’ Six Nations winners from 2012 and 2013, including George North (Northampton this season) Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro this season), Ian Evans (Toulon next season), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne next season) and Richard Hibbard (Gloucester next season) have already moved or agreed deals.
The changes to the salary cap agreed by Premiership Rugby also sees a new monitoring and investigation system introduced to ensure the cap is adhered to and provides more transparency to the system.
Clubs suspected of breaching the salary cap could face an investigatory audit involving independent experts to access relevant club records with clear sanctions available should any club fail to co-operate.
The salary cap has led to accusations that some clubs with large playing squads abuse it, but no formal complaints have been made to the PRL.
The total Salary Cap for 2014/15 comprises:
-£4.76 million – Salary Cap from 2014-15 season, up from £4.26 million
-£240,000 – Academy Credits
-1 Excluded Player (Salary is not included in Salary Cap)
The full Premiership Rugby Salary Cap regulations and definitions can be found at www.premiershiprugby.com/salarycap