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Posted by: Marlow Nick
Date: 19/12/2019 16:04
I guess there are four fundamental questions that need answering and it's not clear which are in-scope for this review

1. What is the purpose of the cap? Do the clubs still want a set of rules intended to deliver on the stated objectives of a roughly level playing field that is affordable for everyone. If not scrap it. If you do want that then some of the rules need to be tightened because we are rapidly moving to a place where only 2-3 clubs can afford to subsidise the losses and clearly the current rules are not delivering a level playing field and the cap cannot be increased. Personally I think it was a mistake to increase the cap 5 years ago after the last time clubs were found to be overspending.

2. What should be excluded from the cap? Clearly there are still too many loopholes of interpretations. They have tried to make is a all encompassing and inclusive as possible and still Nigel (and presumably some of the other rich owners) seem to find novel interpretations that allow them to spend more than other clubs. Personally I think marquee players are skewing the league too much. I'd suggest they should be inside the cap. Clearly we need something to sort out the rules on co-investment / supporting players developing their post-rugby careers that encourages training but prevents business investments.

3. Compensation for EPS and Academy. It makes sense to provide compensation but who should be compensated? The team that employs an England player at maybe 3x the /games rate (higher wages for fewer matches) or should we compensate the club that developed the player and what does "developed" mean (academy or employed in the most recent years)? How do we set the compensation level? If it's too high then in effect EPS & academy are outside the cap and then we're back to a place where a few rich clubs can afford to buy the EPS players and write off the losses. Too small and we end up with clubs who have a strategy of not wanted EPS players. Maybe as well as a small increase in EPS compensation there needs to be a larger compensation for England Qualified.

4. Audit / transparency. As fans we may want more transparency but potentially that becomes a blocker to achieving better auditing. For example maybe the players should be asked to provide their tax returns - but in exchange for a promise that these remain strictly confidential.

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