Premiership rugby has confirmed that the salary cap for Aviva Premiership clubs will rise to £5 million [€6,067,415] from the start of the 2014/15 season.
That figure will exclude the salary of one player from each club, who will be payed under an “unlimited allowance”.
The wealthier Premiership clubs will be encouraged by the boost, which will give them more freedom to attract and retain international players. The fact that a single individual is excluded from the wage limits means the likes of Saracens, Leicester and Northampton have the scope to handsomely remunerate their marquee signings.
The raised salary cap itself is £4.76 million, up from the current £4.26 million. However, £240,000 of ‘academy credits’ give the clubs scope to boost their actual wage budgets up towards £5 million. Those credits reward clubs for including academy graduates in their senior squads.
To qualify for that status, the player must have joined the club before turning 18, must be under the age of 24 and must earn more than £30,000. For each of those players, the club will receive a £30,000 ‘credit’ from the overall budget. For example, if such a player earns £40,000, only £10,000 would be counted towards that club’s salary cap calculations.
The new limits also include dispensations for clubs who suffer at the hands of injury. When a player is injured for 12 weeks or more, those sides will be allowed to appeal to the salary cap manager to recruit a replacement. That replacement’s wages will be included under a separate £400,000 cap for such situations.
The sum total of all injury replacement players’ salaries at one club must not exceed that £400,000 limit for that season.
Leicester Tigers were crowned Premiership champions in May, 2013. Clive Gee/PA Archive/Press Association Images.
The much-criticised [on these shores at least] Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said this salary cap boost was recognition of the English league’s progress in recent years.
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.
“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 (highest number of games finishing in less than one score compared to any other rugby competition in the world).”
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