THE new structure in professional rugby league must come with amended salary cap regulations which give bankrolled clubs the chance to spend as much as they like.
That was the opinion of York City Knights chairman John Guildford ahead of today’s big meeting of Championships clubs – and he reckons he has the “simple solution” to end problems associated with overspending.
As reported, today’s meeting is set to confirm promotion and relegation formats between the Championship and Championship One, following on from the confirmation that a new “2x12 into 3x8” league system is to be introduced for Super League and the Championship.
A key element of the game’s restructuring, however, regards money – not only how much each club will receive from central funds but also how much clubs can spend.
Salford’s millionaire owner, Marwan Koukash, among others, has already demanded the salary cap be greatly increased, allowing him to splash out on players in a bid to take the Red Devils from bottom to top in Super League. He says the current cap means leading stars go to either Australia or rugby union.
The danger, however, is that clubs spend money they haven’t got, either in a bid for glory or to avoid relegation, and go bust.
Guildford reckons his idea solves the problem.
“I agree with Dr Koukash about the salary cap,” said Guildford.
“If somebody wants to spend money to make their club better, to make the game better, to attract better players, to bring in rugby stars, then let them. Say somebody wanted to bring the Burgess brothers back – that would be fantastic for our game.
“The one stipulation I would add is if someone wants to invest and pay ‘X’ more for players, then they ask the Rugby Football League for dispensation on the salary cap and they lodge this extra money with the governing body so everyone knows the money is there.
“The RFL then pays it back to the club monthly. That way, it stops what the RFL are trying to stop – nobody can spend money they haven’t got. Alternatively they set up bond agreements so the RFL know the money is there and is safe and is underwritten.
“If somebody wanted to invest in the Knights, they can come in and not be restricted. Say Abramovich wanted to buy London Broncos – why would he if he can’t invest in the team?”
The Press understands salary cap regulations, as well as dual-registration rules, are to be rewritten as part of the game’s restructure.