Cap whistleblowers given a hotline
Premiership Rugby has introduced a hotline for whistleblowers as part of its newly-approved salary cap regulations.
Four days after Sale winger Mark Cueto accused some clubs of "blatantly" flaunting the financial constraints under which clubs are expected to operate, a confidential number has been set up enabling suspicions to be raised.
In addition to the current annual salary cap audit, an investigatory audit can now be undertaken using independent experts to access relevant records held by a club who are thought to be breaching the regulations.
It has long been suspected that some clubs are guilty of breaking the salary cap, although Cueto did not give any specific names. Phil Winstanley, rugby director for Premiership Rugby, has spoken to Cueto about his concerns.
"I chatted to Mark and he has no hard evidence to suggest that anybody is in breach of the regulations," Winstanley said.
"I took the opportunity to go through the current processes with him with regard to auditing an investigation. He's now aware of that and of the line we've set up.
"We've tried to formalise a whistleblowing process where anyone can make information available to the salary cap manager in a confidential fashion. We need hard evidence."
Any clubs suspected of breaching the salary cap will be subject to a confidential disciplinary hearing with the sanction of both a points deduction and fine available. Any breach - and the sanction - will be made public.
Sport Resolutions UK will run the disciplinary procedure, appointing an independent panel of legal experts and overseeing any appeal process.
"We've created a sharper tool for the salary cap and regulations manager to follow up any information or concerns anybody may have," Winstanley said.
"Any information needs to be reasonable, absolutely clearly this won't be a fishing expedition, but where there is reasonable concern there will be greater powers available."
The current salary cap stands at £4.26million per season, but this could increase for 2014-15 with the 12 Premiership clubs benefiting from the bumper broadcasting deal agreed with BT Sport.
"We review the level on an annual basis and we'll make an announcement early next year over what the cap will be for next season. Possibly it could go up," Winstanley said.