Premiership Rugby clubs have unanimously agreed to temporarily cut the salary cap from its current £7 million down to £5 million for the 2021-22 season.
The number of marquee players whose salary is not counted towards the cap will also be reduced from its current two to just one, but this will only apply from the 2022-23 season.
While players salaries in current contracts will be protected, the next round of negotiations will be vital in keeping the top players at their clubs.
A leading agent told The Daily Telegraph that he predicts that the Premiership will lose its appeal for domestic and overseas players once the cuts come into effect.
“Japan has really opened up as a destination for northern hemisphere players,” the agent said. “They have the money behind them and have become the dominant financial market. The Top 14 will continue to be a market because they will pay more for quality players.”
It is hoped that the reduction will save several clubs facing threats caused by the lockdown.
After reducing the base level by £1.4 million in 2021-22, the cap will then be increased to its present limit by 2024-25. There will also be a series of additional credits for clubs fielding English qualified players and providing players to England, amounting to £1 million.
Despite the agreement being unanimous at a board meeting yesterday, there is still a rift between the 13 clubs. Bristol, who for a long time have been completely opposed to reducing the salary cap, apparently have changed their mind over their original decision now that the changes would only be temporary.
As it stands now the Premiership, as it currently operates, is unsustainable. In a recent report, it was revealed that clubs collectively lost a massive £89 million in just two years. An obscene amount of money for the sport.
Whether the changes will come quick enough to save all 13 clubs in the Premiership, some who are tottering on the brink of collapse remains to be seen, but by bringing the salary cap down to a workable figure, this should help clubs in the long run.
With no finances coming into all clubs until the middle of August at the earliest, the only realistic hopes of clubs trying to get their finances back to a reasonable figure has to be a cut in both the salary cap and wages of players.
Unprecedented times call for desperate measures. What we are going through in sport at this moment in time can only mean one thing, clubs must be sensible in this current bad economic situation the whole of the world is being placed in. Reduce money in caps and salaries, or rugby will struggle to compete with the rest of the sporting world.
This article was written exclusively for golear.co.uk.