Super League: Polarising salary cap increase has backing of Hull FC chief Adam Pearson
The dozen clubs yesterday passed a series of proposals including raising the cap from £1.825m to £2.1m by 2020.
There is a rise of just £75,000 next season, but, given the salary cap has barely altered for the past decade, such incremental changes appear quite significant.
If ratified by the RFL Board today, the finite salary cap will be £1.9m next year, £2m in 2019 and £2.1m in 2020.
In addition, clubs voted to increase the number of marquee players permitted at each Super League club from one to two.
Currently, they can nominate one player whose salary will total no more than £150,000 on the cap, with any wages over that amount exempt, although only Wigan Warriors have one such player – Sam Tomkins.
There are also now exemptions from the salary cap when bringing new or returning players to the sport such as ex-St Helens star Kyle Eastmond, who is reportedly keen to leave union.
The final proposal also sees exemptions to the salary cap for certain players under 21 years old. Club bosses voted seven-five in favour of the switch.
Pearson voted in favour – Wakefield Trinity chairman Michael Carter disagreed – and explained: “I think the game is in good shape and for the first time in years clubs are not in a financial struggle.
“But, basically, something was probably needed to keep in line with inflation and players costs.
“Is it really going to make that much difference? I’m not sure.
“It is a sensible move, though, as we don’t have the commercial strength to allow us to spend more.
“The only thing that will make a difference is the marquee rule that allows clubs with huge spending power to sign two players if it wants under those conditions. So that gives the likes of Warrington... Warrington and... Warrington, chance to go out and bring in some big-name players. That’s good for the competition overall, but it will make it more difficult for us to compete with them unless we have the edge over them in other areas. Obviously, just because you’ve two very expensive players it doesn’t mean you’re going to win the league every year.
“Warrington are a great club and Simon Moran is one of the best owners and if he wants to put that sort of considerable amount of money into the sport he probably should be able to.”