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New salary cap agreed as WRU sign six-year deal

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the country’s four regions have agreed to a new financial package aimed at enabling sustainability and growth over the next six years.

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The Professional Rugby Board (PRB) confirmed on Thursday that it has signed a new long-form Professional Rugby Agreement (PRA) with all parties, including the WRU, Cardiff Rugby, the Dragons, the Ospreys, and the Scarlets, bound by its terms until 2029.

The new PRA will provide a financial framework that is made up of new funding from the WRU and club shareholders to create a sustainable platform for progress. It will also provide financial predictability for the professional game in Wales, with homegrown player development being a key objective for all parties.

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PRB chair Malcolm Wall said, “It is no exaggeration to say a great deal of work, time and effort has gone into establishing an agreement all parties can be happy with and which is designed to achieve the very best results for Welsh professional rugby from the resources available to us.”

The new PRA will introduce salary caps from the 2023/24 season, with two types of contracts on offer – fixed contracts and those with both a fixed and variable element linked to appearances and performances. All contracts will be held by a central clearing house to monitor spending, ensure contract compliance, and effect a new player-loan system across clubs.

Contracts for players of national interest will be agreed by the club and the WRU Performance Director, while all clubs are committed to a minimum spend on player academies. Additionally, all clubs will be subject to regular audits of squad expenditures, contracts, business plans, and academy performance.

The clubs have also committed to centralising aspects of their commercial operations, with work already in process in this area. Welsh Rugby Players Association CEO Gareth Lewis has welcomed the agreement, stating, “The cooperation between the WRU, our professional clubs and the WRPA has been a vitally important part of this process and we will continue to work together for the future benefit of Welsh rugby.”

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The PRB comprises representatives from each of the five professional entities in Welsh rugby, including four regional representatives, acting WRU CEO Nigel Walker, WRU finance director Tim Moss, and two independent members – Malcolm Wall, as chair, and Marianne Økland.

WRU CEO Nigel Walker said, “Our objective has been to achieve a sustainable future for our four professional sides and for Wales, and credit must go to all involved now this has been achieved. We now have a structure which will provide a backdrop of stability from which we can build.”

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