Salary cap will increase, says Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom
Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom believes the Aviva Premiership salary cap will increase in size as early as next season.
Speaking in the wake of Tigers’ win against big-spending Toulouse in the Heineken Cup, Tom said he had “always been against the cap”, and added that he would be “surprised” if the spending limit was not increased by Premier Rugby for the 2013-14 campaign.
“I have never been in favour of the salary cap and I am still not,” he said.
“I understand why it is there. Lots of people say it provides a service but it’s up to the (Premier Rugby) board to decide what is carried.
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“We are entering into a period where a new deal has just been done with the English players and BT have signed a good deal with English clubs, so I would be very surprised if we don’t see the salary cap move up.
“And I would be surprised if it didn’t happen next year.”
The English wage cap is currently around £4.4million. Big Irish and French clubs spend well above that amount, with the likes of Toulouse, Clermont and Toulon, Tigers’ opponents in the quarter-finals, rumoured to be spending between £12m and £15 on wages.
Tom said those amounts were unsustainable in the English league, but he suggested a rise of around £1m would enable Premiership clubs to have a better chance of winning the Heineken Cup.
“The difficulty with the salary cap is the depth of the squads that English teams can have,” said Tom.
“When the English guys come back from the autumn internationals, we can’t afford to rest them because there is a series of fixtures in which every one is vital.
“This is where you see the strength and depth of the French clubs and the Irish provinces because they can afford to do that.
“I think if there was another £1m around, it would help sides like ours for big matches against Toulouse or Toulon.
“Steve Mafi injured his hamstring during the Toulouse game and he will be out for a couple of months.
“Under the current salary cap regulations, we will have to apply for dispensation to replace him and, even then, where do you find another player as good as Steve Mafi?
“A little bit more commonsense, particularly around the injury issue, would be a huge help as far as the salary cap is concerned.”