PREMIERSHIP RUGBY is set to take more of a critical view of its member clubs after it was announced yesterday that clubs may be subjected to more transparent salary cap monitoring under PRL’s investigation system.
Following a consultation by the salary cap manager Andrew Rogers with all of the clubs Premiership Rugby can now undertake an investigatory audit in addition to the current annual salary cap audit which can involve using independent experts to access relevant records held by a club who are suspected of breaching the regulations. There will also be clear sanctions to deal with any club failing to co-operate.
On the changes, PRL Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said: “Their [the rules] objective was to control inflationary pressures on clubs’ costs, and to provide a level playing field for clubs to ensure a competitive Aviva Premiership Rugby competition.
“Having a compelling and unpredictable Aviva Premiership Rugby competition is at the centre of Premiership Rugby’s strategic objectives. It is a crucial factor in increasing the commercial value of the competition through its new broadcaster, BT Sport, and seeing the renewal of its title sponsor, Aviva.”
Rugby director at PRL, Phil Winstanley, also said: “It was inevitable that as the game develops we would conduct a review of the salary cap.
“Salary Caps exist in many commercially successful sports around the world. The most obvious examples are the NFL and NHL in the USA, and the NRL and AFL in Australia.”
It is perhaps prevalent to bring up the NRL with such high profile cases as Melbourne Storm, who were stripped of their last two titles and finished bottom of the league in 2010 because of continued breaches of their salary cap regulations. The announcement also comes at the a good time after Mark Cueto said last week that some clubs could be acting on the fringes of the rules.
The Sale Sharks wingers said: “There’s no way you can tell me that certain clubs in the Premiership are sticking to the salary cap. I’m not saying them all, but I certainly think there’s a couple. Players know other players. We’ve all got friends at other clubs and we all know what sort of money players are on.
“You look at a couple of clubs, and for them to be within the salary cap, they would all have to be on pretty average money, and for the names and the players they’ve got, they’re not.”
The Premiership Rugby Salary Cap was set up in to achieve the following objectives in an appropriate and proportionate manner:
(a) ensuring the financial viability of all Clubs and of the Aviva Premiership Rugby competition;
(b) controlling inflationary pressures on Clubs’ costs;
(c) providing a level playing field for Clubs; and
(d) ensuring a competitive Aviva Premiership Rugby competition.
The new system also means that any clubs suspected of breaching the salary cap will be subject to a confidential disciplinary hearing with the sanction of both a points deduction and fine available, if Cueto is indeed correct in his assumption. Any breach and the sanction will be made public.
Sport Resolutions UK will run the disciplinary procedure, appointing an independent panel of legal experts and overseeing any appeal procedure. Rogers and legal firm Charles Russell have overseen analysis of cap data together since 2012.
Premiership Rugby has also set up an email address and hotline phone number for anyone wanting to present information. Anyone can now email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07583 826343.
In the 2013-14 Season the total Salary Cap for each club comprises of:
• £4.26 million – Senior Salary Cap
• £240,000 – Academy Credits
• 1 Excluded Player (Salary is not included in the Salary Cap)
• Injury Replacement