Marquee men mock the salary cap principles
The Rugby Paper|February 28, 2021
THE Premiership salary cap regulations are one of the biggest cons in sport, despite the claims by Lord Myners that they represent a “gold standard framework”.
NICK CAIN

Nothing illustrates this more than the current exemption from the salary cap of two marquee players – or “excluded players”, one overseas, and one English, as the Premiership likes to call the big-money signings who are in the process of creating a two-tier top league.

The top earners within the 13team Premiership cartel are headed by Charles Piutau, the former All Black full-back/wing, who is reportedly on a £1m annual salary at Bristol, with Saracens’ England lock Maro Itoje second with £875,000 a year. Itoje’s cub captain/fly-half Owen Farrell banks £750,000 although he is not a marquee man. That honour goes to Sarries’ Springbok world champion tighthead Vincent Koch (Overseas) on £300k.

The idea that this fiscal loophole promotes anything but wage inflation, as well as an unequal funding model, is laughable.

The self-congratulatory claptrap on Premiership rugby’s website makes claims about grasping “the importance of salary caps and/or financial regulation”. If salary caps are so important, why does it allow any exemptions?

Its claims to be “ensuring the financial viability of all clubs and the Premiership Rugby competition” flies in the face of reality, with all Premiership clubs bar one trading in the red at the last audit.

Even more bogus is Premiership Rugby’s claim that the salary cap is “controlling inflationary pressure on clubs’ costs”. The biggest inflationary pressures faced by most clubs is their willingness to pay excessive salaries to marquee players, which then drive wage increases across their squads that are massively in excess of the money the clubs generate from funding, whether from the RFU through their excessive PGA payout, or from broadcasters, sponsors, and gate takings.

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