Wakefield chairman Michael Carter has warned that the changes to the Super League salary cap from next year onwards could set the competition back 10 years: saying the cap is “dead” in his eyes.
Clubs voted through proposals yesterday to increase the cap incrementally over the next three seasons: to £1.9m in 2018, £2m in 2019 and £2.1m in 2020.
However, it is the increase in the number of dispensations clubs are allowed – including a second marquee player allowance – which have raised eyes. And Carter said he believes that clubs can now spend whatever they like.
“The salary cap is dead as far as I’m concerned,” Carter said.
“Last year the average Super League spend was something like £2.1m with all the dispensations. I think with a clever accountant administering a club’s salary cap return, the sky is now the limit.
“A club could go out and spend whatever they want and work the rules in such a way that they would get away with it.
“Good luck to them if that’s what they want. What that does for financial sustainability, only time will tell.”
Carter has also questioned whether the changes will stop the player drain from Super League: believed to be the primary focus of the alterations.
“The point was well made right at the start of the meeting that we have the most open, competitive competition that we’ve had in 10 years, where there’s a feeling that any one club can go to another club and win,” Carter added.
“I’d be interested in two years to see how many players we’ve actually prevented from going to the NRL or rugby union as a result of what’s happened this morning.
“There’s currently one marquee player in rugby league and now suddenly we think there’s going to be 24. You can rest assured we certainly won’t be using the marquee player rule.
“There are ramifications that we haven’t even thought about yet. Potentially, the bigger clubs could get to the point where they are stock-piling players.”