Premiership to Scrap Wage Cap?

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Saracens have called for the Premiership wage cap to be abolished and say that they have the backing of six other top-flight teams.

Premiership clubs are restricted to spending £5m on player salaries, with that rising to £5.5m next season.

The wage cap is designed to encourage teams to produce young players and enhance the pool of English talent.

“The salary cap has served its purpose,” said Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths.

“It’s time to seize a golden opportunity to grow the game, to ensure a level playing field in Europe, to build the strongest league in world rugby and to let players earn market-related salaries.

“We must release the handbrake and step on the accelerator.”

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The Premiership’s 12 clubs will discuss the possibility of scrapping the salary limit at a shareholder meeting on February 4.

Premiership sides have long strived to compete in Europe against the cash-rich French clubs, who have a wage cap of 10m euros (£8.6m)

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is set to become the best paid player in the world by agreeing to join Racing Metro after the 2015 World Cup.

Meanwhile, England and Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley admitted he was close to moving to the Top 14 for an improved wage at Montpellier before signing a new deal at Franklin’s Gardens.

From next season, the Premiership’s basic salary limit will rise from £4.76m to £5.1m, with a further £400,000 available in academy credits, which cover players who are under the age of 24 and joined the club before their 18th birthday and are earning more than £30,000 a year.

Clubs will also be able to sign two ‘marquee’ players, whose wages will be excluded from the cap, as long as they arrive from outside the Premiership.

Griffiths added: “English clubs must compete in the European Champions Cup against Irish and French clubs spending two or three times as much on players.

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“Imagine the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City being asked to compete with Barcelona, FC Bayern and Real Madrid under those circumstances.

“It would never happen, but it happens in rugby. Strong legal opinion suggests the salary cap, as applied, breaches European competition laws.”

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  1. I believe that the salary cap should be lifted, but in its place a limit on the number of overseas players should be introduced.

    The holy grail in European rugby is the Heineken cup. But historically bringing in foreign talent does not bring success in the tournament.

    In Heineken Cup history the winner has only had more than 4 overseas players starting in the final on two occasions. Toulon in 2013 and 2014 where 11 and 12 were used respectively.

    If you account for both teams, the finals in 2011 & 2012 had 7 and 8 overseas players in the starting XV’s respectively. This number has doubled to 19 in 2013 and 17 in 2014.

    If we look at the top 4 finishers in the 3 European leagues last season (ranked by number of overseas players)

    25 – Toulon (Champions in France)
    24 – Leicester Tigers
    20 – Saracens (Runner up in England)
    18 – Montpellier
    14 – Toulouse
    13 – Clermont
    9 – Northampton Saints (Champions in England)
    9 – Glasgow (Runner up in Pro 12)
    7 – Ulster
    7 – Munster
    5 – Harlequins
    4 – Leinster (Champions in Pro 12)

    This also indicates that home talent can be successful.

    Success at club level translates to international level. It is no co-incidence that when the club teams are reaching the finals, the national team benefits (think England 00-04, France 03-06, Ireland 08-12).

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