However, the players' union has spoken out about a lack of dialogue with them

Premiership Rugby agree salary cap cut

All 13 clubs in PRL – Premiership Rugby‘s administrative arm – have unanimously agreed to cut the league’s salary cap by £1.4m, bringing it down to £5m from the 2021-22 season. The reduction will be set until the end of the 2023-24 season. Then from 2024-25, the salary cap will return to a minimum of £6.4m.

Other details of the salary cap changes include:

  • Home-grown player credits will be retained up to £600,000.
  • International and EPS player credits will be retained but limited to a maximum of £400,000.
  • Season-long loans salary cap exemption will be removed.
  • The academy ceiling will remain at £100,000 (this is for non-homegrown academy players) but the upper salary limit for an academy player will increase from £30,000 to £50,000. Homegrown academy players do not get counted in the £100,000.
  • For any existing contracts that continue into the 2021-22 salary year, and beyond, their cap cost will be counted at 75% of their overall actual value, to sensibly manage the transition to new cap levels.

Lord Myners’ salary cap review had suggested doing away with the ‘marquee player dispensation’ system, where two players’ salaries do not count towards the cap, but that will continue for the next two seasons.

This will be reduced to just one player from the 2022-23 season, except for where a club has a current contract in place for two marquee players. In that scenario, both players may remain as ‘excluded players’ until the first of their current contracts expire.

In all, this represents major change to the way Premiership clubs approach their cap allowance and on Wednesday the Rugby Players’ Association released a strongly-worded statement, speaking of their disappointment with a lack of input afforded to the players.

The statement was released before details of salaries extending to 2021-22 and beyond counting at only 75% of their value in the cap, but there are still concerns from players that wages will be significantly affected by the changes.

RPA chairman Mark Lambert said: “Most of the players have already had temporary 25% pay cuts since March and April as a result of the unprecedented financial challenges exposed by Covid-19. PRL have been seeking agreement to reduce players’ wages permanently by 25% across all PRL clubs. This was unanimously rejected by the Players’ Board.

“The RPA have been working diligently over the last 12 weeks to seek to avoid a repeat of the damaging situation the game found itself in when the clubs imposed temporary wage cuts on a unilateral basis in mid-March. This latest situation could have been entirely avoided with a collaborative and transparent approach and we now find ourselves heading towards a significant legal dispute unless meaningful and genuine dialogue takes place urgently. In the meantime, the RPA position remains unequivocal: the RPA is opposed to permanent cuts for our members.

“From the outset of this crisis there has been an absolute disregard for the players and the values of the game. Players at some clubs are now being served with ultimatums and being put under undue pressure to sign amended contracts through the manufactured deadline of June 18th. To be clear, this is a totally unacceptable way to operate. Players are the lifeblood of the game and should be treated with respect. Players should not engage with this approach. The RPA will continue to fight for our members throughout this crisis.”

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.