The core objectives of the Salary Cap are:
- To ensure that the competitions remains competitive and therefore attractive to spectators and commercial partners by preventing Clubs with greater financial resources dominating the competition and by ensuring a balanced spread of players among clubs;
- To prevent Clubs trading beyond their means and/or entering into damaging and unsustainable financial arrangements; and
- To protect the welfare and interests of all Players.
The amount each Club can spend on its first team players is (subject to certain exemptions and dispensations) limited to the lower of:
- The finite Salary Cap limit of £2.1m; and
- The amount that it is deemed that a Club can afford to spend pursuant to the Financial Sustainability Regulations.
The Super League Salary Cap is measured in ‘real time’: this means that each Club’s spend (or deemed spend) must remain below the Salary Cap at all times. The Championship and League 1 Salary Caps are measured retrospectively where appropriate: this means that each Club must demonstrate at the end of each Season that its actual spend over the course of the Season was below the Salary Cap.
The key dispensations are:
- Marquee Player – Each Super League and Championship Club is permitted to have two Marquee Players whose Salary Cap value is limited to £150,000 (or £75,000 if Club Trained);
- Club Trained Dispensation – Each Super League club is given up to £100,000 of dispensation for producing Super League standard players;
- Player Welfare Dispensation – Each Super League Club that achieves the player welfare target is given a £15,000 dispensation;
- New Talent Pool Dispensation – Any Player who has not previously played Rugby League is given a value of £0 in the first year of his contract and at 50% of his true value in the second year;
- Returning Talent Pool Dispensation – Any Player who has not previously played rugby league in the 5 years prior to signing is given a value of 50% of his true value in the first year of his contract and 75% of his true value in the second year;
- International Bonuses – Bonuses paid for international representation are excluded up to specified maximums;
- Educational fees paid directly by Clubs are excluded; and
- Prize money – Payments made out of prize money are excluded.
The Salary Cap is monitored in the following ways:
- In the case of Super League, all new and revised Player contracts, loans and squad declarations are reviewed by the Professional Delivery Team and a revised Spend position agreed with the Club;
- In the Championship and League 1, where appropriate, Clubs are required to submit monthly returns to the RFL to allow their spend to be monitored;
- All Super League Clubs are required to submit half year and full year returns evidencing all payments made to Players;
- RFL audits of clubs; and
- If necessary, investigations by the Compliance Team.