Lord Myners has delivered his verdict on the English top flight’s regulations

Review calls for changes to Premiership Rugby salary cap

A review into the Premiership Rugby salary cap has called for numerous changes to be made to the regulations.

Lord Myners, a former government minister, was commissioned by Premiership Rugby to conduct an in-depth review into the salary cap late last year following the revelations surrounding Saracens’ breaches.

His recommendations include greater sanctions for salary cap breaches, including the stripping of titles. Some felt Saracens should have had their Premiership titles removed in light of the club’s breaking of the cap but the regulations didn’t allow it, so a hefty points deduction and relegation were the punishments.

Other suggested changes are making players, agents and club boards more accountable so there is greater onus on individuals to ensure regulations are not being broken by specific deals.

Plus, Lord Myners believes the salary cap manager – or salary cap director, which is a proposed title change – should have more power to investigate clubs as well as more resources at their disposal. This would include having access to players’ tax returns and club’s “raw accounting data”.

Premiership Rugby salary cap

Sign of times: Gloucester supporters react to the Saracens scandal (Getty Images)

Making the regulations easier to understand is another recommendation, while greater transparency is also strong theme.

Lord Myners’ review involved gathering feedback from 450 individuals and organisations, with damning verdicts delivered by some Premiership club supporters. One said: “From the whole Saracens affair, the most frustrating part was a lack of transparency. No one within rugby has come out of this looking good.”

Another said: “This whole affair has done huge damage to our sport. It has dragged the sport and its reputation into the gutter.”

Rebuilding the trust that has been lost by recent events is seen as an important objective, with transparency key to that. Lord Myners recommends announcing that a charge has been brought within seven days and publishing decisions in full.

You can read the full report via this link.

MORE ON THE SARACENS SCANDAL

Lord Myners also raised concerns about the marquee player system, which allows two players to sit outside the salary cap. From the 2012-13 season, clubs could have one marquee player, with a second permitted from 2015-16. He says the marquee exemptions have “completely cut across the objectives of equality and competition, and create unhelpful inflationary pressure on wages”.

His report points out that in 2013-14 there were only five players in the Premiership who cost their club at least £300,000 while this season there are 99 players. That’s a huge increase in a few years and he proposes a review of the marquee player rule.

There are already suggestions that many clubs would like the salary cap reduced, particularly given the extra financial pressure created by the coronavirus crisis, so expect changes to the cap itself as well as the regulations.

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