Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bath Rugby gain right to compete with French for 'marquee' talent

The richest clubs in English rugby – Leicester, Saracens, Bath and Northampton – have not succeeded in freeing themselves from their economic chains by abolishing the salary cap, despite a determined attempt to turn the Premiership into a paradise for free-market fundamentalists. They have not even managed to raise the cap to a level where they might match the spending power of the French. The Big Four are celebrating one victory, however, and it could have a major impact.

From the end of next season, each of the 12 elite teams will be able to employ one player over and above the salary cap of £4.26m – a significant move in favour of those clubs able and willing to splash a serious amount of cash. If, for instance, Bath persuade the stellar All Black outside-half Dan Carter to take a sabbatical from New Zealand rugby and play a season at the Recreation Ground in return for a wage of the seven-figure variety, there will be nothing to stop them completing the deal.

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