Bath, Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs veto salary cap cuts

Premiership Rugby sides were unable to reach a unanimous decision on cutting the salary cap ahead of next season.

Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs were the only three clubs to go against the wage cuts.

Cuts to the cap had been proposed to due the financial implications that COVID-19 is having upon Premiership clubs.

The idea behind the proposal was to enable smaller clubs to be able to stay financially stable at this current time.

A number of clubs had already had players take a pay cut whilst the Premiership season in postponed.

The cap was last reduced in 2017 from £7 million to £6.5 million.

salary cap
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 11: Members of the 12 Gallagher Premiership Rugby Sides pose for a photo during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby 2019-20 Season Launch at Twickenham Stadium on September 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Premiership Rugby)

Questions over contracts

A change in the salary cap as well as the postponement of the season have caused questions to be asked of what will happen to players that have already signed for new clubs. With new contracts set to start before the start of the 2020/21 season, what will that mean for sides that have already gone about their business?

Bristol would have to reconsider their squads with a cut to the cap with a number of big players already agreeing deals at Ashton Gate. Marquee signing Charles Piutau was set to be joined by new marquee signing Semi Radradra as well as England prop Kyle Sinckler and Saracens’ Ben Earl on a loan deal.

Chiefs had also signed Scotland international second row Jonny Gray ahead of next season whilst Bath would potenially lose Rhys Webb who had signed a short-term deal to the end of the current season.

Elsewhere in the Premiership Leicester Tigers had been busy with the big signing of Fijian powerhouse Nemani Nadolo coming to Welford Road. Worcester Warriors’ Ryan Mills had also agreed a switch to local rivals Wasps.

Reaction from the top

Exeter Director of Rugby spoke out before the vote about the cap saying that the cap should not be increased any further, particularly given the current climate.

Speaking to the daily mail, Gloucester’s Chief Executive Lance Bradley said that the sports needs to be treated as a business now more than ever before. This would ensure clubs don’t make as significant loss, which was expected to be around £45 million across the entire league.

There is still potential that clubs could change their minds but with the current uncertainties provided by the coronavirus, clubs will want to retain their best players whilst trying to stay financially stable.

A reduction in the cap would benefit the future of the league but would put a number of players careers on hold with uncertainty over contracts.


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