Super League clubs agree to raise salary cap

Yorkshire's Super League clubs
Yorkshire's Super League clubs
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Super League clubs have today backed RFL proposals designed to attract the best talent to the competition - including a salary cap rise of just £75,000 next season.

The salary cap has barely altered for the past decade, though, so these changes appear quite significant.

Clubs have voted to increase the current salary cap to £2.1m by 2020 and agreed three additional changes to the current rules.

Under current regulations, the finite salary cap is £1.825m per campaign but the new proposals would see it rise to £1.9m in 2018, £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 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 today would see exemptions to the salary cap for certain players under 21 years old.

The RFL Board will now consider the proposals at a Board Meeting in Manchester tomorrow and if - as fully expected - they are approved, the new regulations will come into force from the start of the 2018 Betfred Super League season.

RFL chief commercial officer and 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.”

Each Super League club will be entitled to dispensation for two marquee players whose salary cap value would be - but for the regulation - £175,000.

It would distinguish between marquee players as club trained marquee players be deemed to have a Salary Cap Value of £75,000 and all other marquee players be deemed to have a salary cap value of £150,000.

Furthermore, 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 or over on August 31 prior to the start of the season.

Also, 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 per cent in his second full season) will continue to apply.

Also, 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 per cent in his first full season; and (ii) by 25% in his second full season.

Meanwhile, 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 £20,000 or less would be excluded from a Club’s Salary Cap.