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Players' chief demands salary cap assurances

Rugby Players' Association chief Damian Hopley says players must be given "full assurances" that the Aviva Premiership salary cap is policed "at an appropriate level of rigour".

Premiership Rugby has concluded its probe into alleged breaches of last season's £5.5million cap by an unspecified number of clubs.

The league's umbrella organisation, though, has not revealed details, other than Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty stating there were no salary cap breaches.

In a statement released last Thursday, Premiership Rugby said: "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 inclusion or not in the salary cap.

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

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

Four Premiership clubs - Wasps, Sale Sharks, Worcester and Harlequins - have subsequently said they were not among the clubs to make settlements.

The RPA, meanwhile, says it has noted the recent salary cap release from Premiership Rugby with interest.

"As has been consistently reiterated, the RPA and its members support the salary cap and believe that the cap is essential to protecting the long-term financial viability of the Aviva Premiership clubs and therefore the livelihoods of our members," the RPA said in a statement.

"Earlier this year, RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley stated that any proven breaches of the salary cap must be exposed and sanctioned accordingly, and this still holds true."

And Hopley added: "The players allow the artificial restraint of their salaries through the salary cap, which is linked to the collective revenue levels of Premiership Rugby.

"It is therefore very equitable that, in return, the players must be given full assurances that the policing of the cap is of an appropriate level of rigour and that the integrity of the competition and the sport is upheld."

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