The Betfred Super League voted unanimously against cutting next season’s salary cap according to The Canadian Press of TSN. There were talks of reducing the salary cap to £1.8m, which would have been a decrease of 300,000 pounds. Players might be happy with this news though as it means more money in their pockets.
However, this news is mixed with some head coaches of the 12 current Super League clubs.
Betfred Super League votes in favour of keeping salary cap
Head coaches on the salary cap
The decision for the salary cap was mixed with two of the 12 Super League head coaches. This is what Brian McDermott of the Toronto Wolfpack said according to The Canadian Press. He talked about a warning being made before such action is needed.
“I really do question how that can happen over the space of 12 months,” he said last week. “I think a fair warning has to be given to all clubs. Because most clubs will have recruited or are in mid-recruitment for next year. Some clubs will have concluded their recruitment for 2021, so you can hardly reduce their salary cap.”
However, there is also a difference in opinion. Hull Kingston Rovers’ (Hull KR) head coach Tony Smith has a different opinion. Smith said that some clubs in Super League simply do not have enough money.
“If the majority of the teams can’t afford to spend the salary cap, I think the smart thing would be to reduce it,” he told the Hull Daily Mail.
According to BBC Sport, the salary cap will remain at 2.1 million pounds. Lastly, Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said this about the decision of the 12 Super League clubs.
#SuperLeague clubs have voted to retain the salary cap at existing levels for the 2021 season.
Executive Chairman Robert Elstone said: "The unanimous vote is another example of the unity shown by our clubs in response to the significant challenges posed by Covid-19". pic.twitter.com/k2NVWLAQiH
— Viking FM News (@VikingFMNews) May 28, 2020
Furthermore, all rugby league teams in England were also helped in this coronavirus pandemic by the British government:
Rugby league lands £16m support package from UK government https://t.co/iCu2QotKse
— SportBusiness (@SportBusiness) May 1, 2020
However, the salary cap of the Betfred Super League may not be limited to 12 teams. There is a possibility of having a 13th team in Super League for 2021.
13 teams in Super League for 2021
There is also a possibility of a 13th team in the Betfred Super League next year. According to Aaron Bower of The Guardian, this is a possibility. The two reasons are the possibility of no relegation and a Championship team getting promoted. Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter feels this is possible:
“I don’t think we can rule anything out,” he said. “We’ve got to consider the issue that someone might not go down this season, because I just don’t think it would be fair to relegate someone in a highly compromised and unusual situation like this one.” “Similarly, you have to honour the commitment the likes of Leigh and Toulouse in terms of trying to get promotion – can you just tell them they can’t come up despite spending so much?
The Toronto Wolfpack currently sit last in Super League and have not played any home games in Canada yet. With the coronavirus pandemic, the Toronto Wolfpack may have to finish all their games in England. Similarly, it would be unfair to relegate teams like Hull KR. This is because they have not completed a full season in Super League.
Furthermore, with the Championship, promotion should be awarded if play happens this year. Teams fighting for promotion include Toulouse Olympique XIII, the London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers, and the Leigh Centurions.
With these two things considered a 13-team Super League is a realistic possibility in 2021. Although likely, it is unclear whether the team promoted from the Championship this year will go into Super League.
Overview of Super League and rugby league in the northern hemisphere
These are strange times for sports fans. Although, rugby league in the northern hemisphere is fortunate to have this good news in this current coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not answer the question of the lower pyramids in the Rugby Football League (RFL). This includes the Championship and League 1.
Furthermore, there is also a possibility of a 13 team in the Betfred Super League in 2021. This will likely mean the 13th team shares some of the Sky TV revenue. However, this will be a small problem as Super League had 12 teams sharing television revenue in 2019. According to TSN, the Toronto Wolfpack currently does not get Super League’s TV revenue.
Overall though, this is positive news for rugby league in England. The salary cap is kept at 2.1 million pounds for all Betfred Super League teams. Furthermore, the British government has pledged 16 million pounds to help most or all English teams in rugby league. Rugby league in the northern hemisphere is getting help when it needs it the most. This is especially true for the rugby league teams in England during this coronavirus pandemic.
“Main photo credit”