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Mark McCafferty: No Premiership side breached salary cap regulations

Published 22/10/2015

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty
Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty

Premiership Rugby boss Mark McCafferty says there have been no salary cap breaches committed by clubs competing in the English game's flagship competition.

But Premiership Rugby confirmed on Thursday that what they describe as "certain issues" were pursued with some Premiership clubs last season in relation to the salary cap.

Premiership bosses say that they "have now resolved the issues identified and have entered into appropriate confidential settlements."

Speculation raged in recent months that at least three Premiership clubs might have broken last season's salary cap limit of just under £5million.

But Premiership Rugby said in a statement: "Over the last few months, there has been speculation, much of it significantly inaccurate, concerning investigations into clubs.

"Premiership Rugby can confirm that certain issues were pursued last season with some clubs relating to access to information, and to commercial contracts where there were differences of opinion as to the correct inclusion or not in the salary cap spend.

"The issues were not straightforward and were subject to differing legal opinion and consequent risk as to any judgment on the correct interpretation.

"Premiership Rugby and the clubs have now resolved the issues identified and have entered into appropriate confidential settlements."

And McCafferty added: "There are no breaches, but we have a five-year window in the regulation which remains open, in case any new information surfaces on any club.

"That remains fully in place and available to the salary cap manager."

Asked to explain the difference between a settlement and a fine, he added: "A settlement is a commercial agreement between two parties to do exactly that. A fine implies a sanction, which implies a breach, and there are no breaches.

"When you get to a point in any commercial relationship where there is a difference of views between two parties, an option is always to settle without one party being right or another party being wrong. We are confident we have resolved any differences, and we move on.

"The nature of the issues that we were looking at are ones that are not straightforward from an interpretation point of view, which is what has led to differing views on the legal side.

"I appreciate some of the speculation over the last few months has gone on unbridled, as it were. I don't think people should assume the scale that maybe has been alluded to consistently over the last few months."

Premiership Rugby, meanwhile has announced developments to the salary framework for next season and the 2017-18 campaign.

Base salary cap levels for 2016 will rise from £5.5million to £6.5million, and further increase to £7million in 2017-18.

McCafferty said: "The clubs intend to ensure that the English game thrives at club and country level and that we achieve domestic, European and international success.

"The financial performance of Premiership Rugby and its clubs, including new commercial contracts with key partners, has helped facilitate plans for the further strengthening of playing squads, including the continued investment in the growth of English talent.

"This investment is intended to help drive the next phase of growth in English club and international rugby."

Each club will be allowed to continue having a maximum of two players who will be excluded from salary cap arrangements, with one player being new to Premiership rugby or not having played in Premiership rugby for at least 12 months.

There is also a new England Senior EPS (elite player squad) or international player credit in addition to the base salary cap level to facilitate squad-strengthening, particularly to cover for player absence during international periods.

Where a club is unable to select a player in its squad for a Premiership or European fixture as a result of that player being selected in a match day squad by his national union. there will be a total allowance up to £80,000 per player, depending on meeting certain qualification and selection criteria.

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