Lord Myners’ independent review into the Premiership’s salary cap regulations has now been published and all 13 clubs should be clamouring to agree to his recommendations. It’s the culmination of months of meticulous work and everyone should be signing up to work within the strengthened regulations to restore the integrity of a competition that has come into question in recent seasons.
The suggestions need to be accepted by at least ten of the 13 clubs in order to come into force and Lord Myners has said that it should be a case of all or nothing and clubs shouldn’t be allowed to cherry-pick the ones that suit them.
Saracens should be the first club to sign up to this, publicly displaying their intent to move forward and repair some of the reputational damage that has been done to them as well as helping to create a sustainable league that people can trust.
One recommendation is that there should be more flexibility to impose different and more severe sanctions if necessary to ensure ‘the punishment fits the crime’ and the removal of titles is even mentioned specifically, so perhaps the fate which befell Saracens could have been worse.
The most important aspect of this review is perhaps that it is aiming to make absolutely everyone accountable, whether that be clubs, chairmen, CEOs, DoRs, agents or players. That can only be a good thing.
Nigel Wray has done a lot of good in his involvement in rugby and charity but it can’t be right that he reportedly hasn’t read the salary cap regulations for the past 20 years. It will be incumbent on everyone to do so now.
It’s important that applies to players too, although they will be looking for agents to assist them. I remember having a meeting towards the end of my career with the salary cap manager and being surprised at how much he knew about my financial situation. As unnerving as that may be even though I had nothing to hide, it’s only right.
Players haven’t had a huge threat hanging over them previously in terms of those conversations with the salary cap manager but knowing they could face sporting sanctions and potentially be banned would be a powerful addition to the regulations.
It’s interesting that Lord Myners said that to the best of his knowledge “no agents replied to the consultation document”. He is recommending that breaches of the relevant regulations should lead to a suspension of an agent’s licence so there is a serious threat of sanction for them too.
The mystery that still hasn't been solved https://t.co/fJLv3MlE0Z
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 14, 2020
You want there to be a fear factor around the salary cap, otherwise clubs and individuals will try to find ways around it and that will render it not fit for purpose and erode the integrity of the competition. The salary cap has to become an effective tool again.
Transparency is a vital part of that. In addition to it being vitally important so that fans as well as everyone involved in the game know what the rules are and if they are being breached, clubs will be far more reluctant to risk breaking the rules if they know they will be exposed.
Lord Myners is right that every one of these recommendations should be ratified. If they are, that should get rid of any ambiguity and mean there is no excuse or loophole for clubs or individuals to use.
There is so much detail in this review and it looks like he’s done a great job, now it is up to the clubs to make sure it comes into force and the three aims of increasing accountability, reducing ambiguity and restoring integrity are all achieved.
Lord Myners said in his conclusion that rugby is a complicated game with a simple ethos. Some work is needed on making it less complex but its ethos has taken a hammering of late. These recommendations would go some way towards repairing it in the Premiership.
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