Dec 19, 2014
Saracens aim to ‘scrap the cap’
Saracens are creating a consensus among Premiership clubs to remove the salary cap, releasing the ‘handbrake’ on English club rugby.
“The salary cap has served its purpose,” said chief executive Edward Griffiths. “It’s time to seize a golden opportunity to grow the game, to ensure a level playing field in Europe, to build the strongest league in world rugby and to let players earn market-related salaries.”
Seven Premiership clubs have indicated they would scrap the cap, and the matter will be discussed at the next PRL shareholder meeting on February 4, 2015.
Griffiths said: “The combination of England hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and Sevens featuring in the 2016 Olympic Games creates a historic but fleeting platform for rugby union to grow dramatically. We must release the handbrake and step on the accelerator.
“The clubs need to encourage investment, to provide the spectacle and quality deserved by our broadcast partner, BT Sport, and title sponsor, Aviva. It would be a pity if the world’s top players light up the World Cup on English soil, and then leave to play club rugby in France. If the salary cap is left to forbid the required investment, it will kill any hope of growth.”
Griffiths added: “English clubs must compete in the European Champions Cup against Irish and French clubs spending two or three times as much on players. Imagine the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City being asked to compete with Barcelona, FC Bayern and Real Madrid under those circumstances. It would never happen, but it happens in rugby. Strong legal opinion suggests the salary cap, as applied, breaches European competition laws.
“We understand some clubs fear the removal of the salary cap will cause wage inflation yet, in reality, salaries are already being driven by the French clubs. We can either sit back and become a second rate ‘lowest common denominator’ league, or we can leap forward.
“Lastly, we must be fair to England international players, who are encouraged to play club rugby in England to be eligible for the national team. Their salaries should be determined by the free market, nothing less. It is simply unfair, inequitable and possibly illegal for their pay to be restrained by the artificial mechanism of an outdated salary cap.
“Time moves on. Situations change. The game needs to evolve. In the interests of English rugby, in the interests of building the best league in the world, in the interests of the sponsors and broadcasters, in the interests of the players… it is time to #scrapthecap.”