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World 12s: Star players in line to pocket in excess of £250,000

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

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World 12s have upped the ante regarding their newly planned tournament by announcing that players can earn an average salary of £90,000 each next August in London, with the stars potential pocking in excess of £250,000. The event has already been disparaged by World Rugby, who issued a statement last month claiming there was no appetite amongst clubs – including those in England and France – to release their players. 

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“The game’s major stakeholders welcome innovative thinking that has the potential to enhance the sport, and new concepts are always given full consideration,” said a World Rugby spokesperson at the time. 

“World Rugby has reflected the views of national unions, international and domestic competitions to the group proposing World 12s and confirmed that stakeholders do not wish to explore the concept further at this time. This is a position endorsed by the World Rugby executive committee and professional game committee, which includes representatives from across the elite men’s and women’s game.”

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However, organisers of the World 12s have continued their planning and have now revealed how much money is on offer to players in the remuneration packages they unveiled on Thursday.

A statement read: “Twenty-four players from tier one and developing nations will each form one of eight franchises, with rugby’s first-ever player auction planned for spring 2022. An overall salary cap of £2.15million in year one, alongside the starting salaries for category A players, means it is highly likely some of the leading international players could achieve in excess of £250k for their participation in the three-week tournament.

“In line with the tournament’s aim to be revolutionary and provide tangible benefits on and off the pitch to the players involved,  the players themselves will select their own base price for the player’s auction. Each player will enter the band which represents the minimum salary they would be willing to accept in the player auction. There is no ceiling on what franchises can bid for players.

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“However, each franchise will have a £2.15m salary cap when assembling their whole squad. Based on the salary cap, the average player salary will be approximately £90,000 for each franchise. Franchise owners will bid for the individual players they want with bidding starting at the relevant base price.

  • Category A players: Base price of £125,000
  • Category B players: Base price of £90,000
  • Category C players: Base price of £70,000
  • Category D players: Base price of £45,000
  • Category E players: Base price of £20,000
  • Category F players: Base price of £10,000

“In addition to the player salary, the top three teams at the end of the tournament will also win a share of the £1,000,000 price pot. Clubs and unions releasing players for the tournament will receive an additional fee.”

World 12s CEO Rowena Samarasinhe said: “In response to the high interest we have received from potential franchise owners, and from over 500 current players from around the world, we are delighted to confirm the starting base salary structure for our inaugural tournament which we are planning to stage in the UK next August. From the beginning of this process, World 12s has stressed that we believe this tournament will complement the existing XVs game.

“It aims to help provide the players, clubs and unions with financial reward for their participation, as well as broader development benefits. The figures announced today are starting prices for the auction, and the players themselves will have the power to determine their base price, and at which level they enter the auction.”

“In addition to the financial rewards, the feedback we have had from players at all levels around the world, past and present, is that one of the most attractive benefits of this tournament is the chance to play alongside players from around the world, and be coached by one of the world’s leading coaches.”

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The salary cap for each franchise is expected to grow in line with future tournament growth. All eight franchises must also include a minimum of two international U20 players and will choose from a pool of players from tier one nations as well as developing nations to further aid player development.

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