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Premiership Rugby clubs agree to slash salary cap by £1m

Premiership Rugby sides have unanimously agreed to cut the salary cap by £1 million for the 2021-22 season.

The deduction is a result of the coronavirus pandemic designed to help clubs overcome financial difficulties they have faced during the virus. Other significant changes have occurred which will reduce the number of ‘marquee’ players from two to one in the 2022-23 season and onwards, as they are not included in the overall salary cap.

An increasing number of clubs have called for the current salary cap to be reduced by as much as 25 per cent, in addition to scrapping the ‘marquee’ players who are exempt from the rule.

Harlequins chief executive Laurie Dalrymple said the lockdown had exposed the financial fragility of the sport and said it’s important to introduce appropriate measures and reductions to be included in the restructuring process.

Dalrymple said: “We knew before Covid that financially the structure of rugby is by and large fractured, it’s not working.

“There might be one or two clubs who are an exception but virtually all clubs are losing more money than they are bringing in.

“Something has to change, so we would be supportive of how the salary cap could change. I genuinely don’t think it should be the only discussion point, but it is a very important one.

“I think it has to be lowered in keeping with what’s then going to make the club sustainable, but we have to be cognisant of the fact that when we do get our sport operating commercially, then we have to raise it.”

He added: “It’s incredibly difficult for us at the moment. We haven’t entirely switched off our revenue streams... but it’s a huge amount of pressure on us.

“It’s going to take us probably longer than we thought to come through this, and it’s going to be a long road ahead to get anywhere near the level of financial and commercial income that we had, on a financial programme that was already fairly fragile before the pandemic.”

Premiership clubs return to training this week as clubs are adopting a phased approach, similar to the one football and other sports are currently performing, were training will be carried out in small groups with no-contact taking place. No timeframe has yet been confirmed when phase two will be introduced, allowing contact training to proceed. The Premiership Rugby League announced last week that the season will provisionally resume on August 15.

Author: James Parker