Salary caps in Women's Sport
The 20/21 Premier 15s season brings new challenges in our 'new normal' climate and also introduces the first ever Women's rugby salary cap - £60,000 per team. The idea of a salary cap to maintain quality of competition is a proven positive strategy, but it is the proposed amount that is damaging the potential of the sport.
The salary cap is a well known strategic concept within sport, with the recent high profile financial investigation of Saracens men dominating sports headlines this year. In the case of men's rugby where anywhere between £40k-£800k salaries PER PLAYER exist, limiting and controlling this expenditure for the quality of the competition make total sense. The story in the women's game is extremely different. Some clubs are building their finances and finally, players are reaping the benefits for their full-time, unpaid (in most cases) "hobby".
Women’s rugby is not in danger of showing the huge disparity of pay that is present in the men’s game. In fact, it is in need of some financial inflation over the coming years - without limitation.
The announcement of the £60,000 salary cap includes: financial payments; transportation expenses; or living expenses. For example, if a club provides you with a car or a house, this comes out of the salary cap. At a time where women's sport is growing at an exponential rate, to then limit how much financial gain the players themselves can benefit from seems regressive and potentially damaging.
A salary cap is put into place to stop disparity within a league, but the figure of £60,000 -
which equates to £1,500 per player based on a squad of 40 - is almost insulting to the players that are expected to perform at the highest standard and be part of the evolution of the game.
What is a sports league without it's most integral component - the players.
The players are the single most important asset to the game and this cap proposes that the salary-equivalent to the annual pay of X1 mid-level men's premiership player is enough to support an entire women's squad of X40 players.
One more time for the people at the back:
X1 mid-level Male premiership player annual salary
The entire club salary cap for a Women's team in Premier 15s league
This salary cap will stunt the growth of the game and in some cases, players will lose housing, transport, or bonuses that they are reliant on to fund being a full-time athlete.
If one or two clubs were able to fund and pay their squad a comfortable salary, brilliant, this is the future of women's sport. But £60,000 for the year, £1,500 per player, who is this helping?
This below par price tag creates an amateur perception of Women's Rugby that does not invite progressive sponsorship.
Actual footage of every female athlete managing a successful sporting career, being financially stable, fighting inequality & gender barriers, having a social life & maintaining their personal mental health.