Super League clubs have today backed a number of proposals set out by the Rugby Football League designed to help attract the best talent to the Betfred Super League.
Clubs voted to increase the current Salary Cap to £2.1m by 2020 and backed proposals to introduce three additional changes to the current rules all designed specifically to help clubs keep and attract elite talent to the competition.
Under current regulations, the finite salary cap is £1.825m per season but the new proposals would see it rise to £1.9m in 2018, £2m in 2019 and £2.1m in 2020.
In addition to the proposed Salary Cap rise, clubs voted to increase the number of marquee players permitted at each Super League club from one to two and have backed proposals that provide clubs with exemptions from the Salary Cap when bringing new or returning players to the sport.
The final proposal voted for by Super League clubs would see exemptions to the Salary Cap for certain players under 21 years old.
The Rugby Football League Board will now consider the proposals at a Board Meeting in Manchester tomorrow (Thursday 6th April) and, if approved, the new regulations will come into force from the start of the 2018 Betfred Super League season.
Speaking following the meeting, Rugby Football League Chief Commercial Officer & Super League Executive Director, Roger Draper, said: “We have had a fantastic start to the 2017 Betfred Super League season with some incredible action on the field. Attendances and viewing figures are up on last year and the decision to support the proposals today is another significant positive result for the Super League.
“The clubs asked the Rugby Football League to put forward a set of proposals that would help them retain and attract the best players to the competition and we believe that when you consider all the them together, these changes could make a significant difference to helping clubs attract and retain the best talent in this league and that is something we all are determined to do going forward.”
Owner of Wigan Warriors, Ian Lenagan, said: “The meeting today was very positive and was a move in the right direction for the Super League. We need the best players playing in our competition and when all of the proposals that were voted through are looked at together, the decisions that were made today will provide Super League clubs the opportunity to do that.”
Owner of Warrington Wolves, Simon Moran, said: “I think it was a constructive meeting and everyone was very positive as we left at the end. If you want the competition to flourish going forward it is very important that the best talent is kept in our League and some of the proposals that were put forward today will help us do that. I thought it was very important that the salary cap did go up and the opportunity is now there with two marquee players available to clubs to bring and retain some of the best talent in the world.”
Owner of Salford Red Devils, Marwan Koukash, said: “I think it was a fantastic meeting. I think the decisions that were made are good for the sport and good for the competition and I am delighted with this outcome. It is crucial we have the best players playing in this league. We need to provide fans with the best entertainment and talent on the field and the decisions today give us the opportunity to do that.”
The full proposals voted for by Super League clubs today were as follows –
Increase finite Salary Cap for Super League
• The finite Salary Cap would rise over the course of the n
ext three years from £1.825m in 2017 to £1.9m in 2018, £2m in 2019 and £2.1m in 2020.
Increase in number of Marquee Players
• Each Super League club would be entitled to dispensation for two Marquee Players whose Salary Cap value would be (but for the Regulation) £175k or more.
• The Regulation would distinguish between Marquee Players as follows: (i) Club Trained Marquee Players be deemed to have a Salary Cap Value of £75k; and (ii) all other Marquee Players be deemed to have a Salary Cap Value of £150k.
New and Returning Players to the Sport
• Each club would be entitled to dispensation for two New Talent Pool Players and/or Returning Talent Pool Players. To qualify a player must be 19+ on 31/08 prior to the start of the season.
• A New Talent Pool Player will continue to have the current definition (i.e. broadly a player who has not played Rugby League at first team, Academy or Scholarship level) and the current allowance (of that player’s Salary Cap Value being reduced: (i) to £0 in his first full season; and (ii) by 50% in his second full season) will continue to apply.
• A Returning Talent Pool Player would be a player who has not played Rugby League in the preceding five years (for reasons other than as a result of a disciplinary sanction or criminal conviction). In relation to such players, a club would be given an allowance such that the Salary Cap Value of that player is: (i) reduced by 50% in his first full season; and (ii) by 25% in his second full season.
Exemption of Junior Players on Salary Cap
• All Players (outside a Club’s Top 25 paid players) who: (i) are age eligible to play at U21 level in the relevant Season; and (ii) are paid £20k or less would be excluded from a Club’s Salary Cap.