Why do we have a salary cap?
Two reasons. Firstly, in the game of Rugby League we need to stop our moronic club administrators from over spending. Pushed by ego, the need to make themselves seem like they are doing their job and therefore, being safe in their own job, administrators have no problems spending beyond the financial means of the club to build a successful squad of players.
The second reason we have a salary cap is basically to spread talent evenly across of the competition.
The salary cap is impartial. It does not favor any team. It didn’t grow up supporting one side or another, it doesn’t have an agenda or an ego. It is a black and white number. You are either under the figure, or you are over it.
David Gallop has said all along that he wants the Melbourne Storms lineup completely dismantled. His point of view is that, the Storm were able to build this lineup through illegal means. Therefore they should not be able to keep many of the players in their side, because through illegal means these players are still at the club, when in theory, if they were playing by the rules and the salary cap, these players would be at other clubs.
Now, the key phrase in all of that is “His point of view”.
David Gallop and the NRL, to their credit, have put the policing of the salary cap as basically their number one goal in running the NRL. I think for the most part they have done a great job.
This can be seen by the fact that the two teams who have cheated the salary cap by a long way have, without questions, been streets ahead of the rest of the competition. They being the Canterbury Bulldogs at the start of the decade and the Melbourne Storm in recent years.
The salary cap is the unshakable law the NRL holds above everything else. Its about fairness. Its about everyone starting from the same point and competing on an even playing field.
Now the NRL doesn’t want to see a repeat of what happened with the Canterbury Bulldogs, where basically the entire side took a pay cut, they kept everyone together, and two years after their massive salary cap penalties they won the 2004 NRL Grand Final.
The NRL wants to see the Melbourne Storm broken up, and I can understand where they are coming from.
The problem is that, as soon as the league itself starts making judgment calls on a players worth, what they can sign for, what they cant sign for, who stays, and who goes, then they are killing the golden ideals of the same salary cap that they claim to hold so precious to them.
Lets look at things from a different point of view.
There have been claims that Melbourne Storm players, knowing they can’t take an outright salary cut, will simply extend their contracts by one or two seasons. This would mean a player on say a $1,000,000 contract over two years could extend his contract by an extra two seasons for the same overall amounts, and therefore his salary per season would drop from $500,000 a year to $250,000 a year.
Seems fair to me, but the NRL doesn’t really want that to happen.
They NRL has also said they do not want players salaries to be back ended. So that a players wouldn’t say they will get only $250,000 in 2001, helping the Storm get under the cap, and know that by the end of his contract he’ll be on $500,000 a year.
The problem with the NRL’s objections in that regard is that, they just allowed the St George/Illawarra Dragons sign off on a contract that did just that, for Mark Gasnier!
This is where you are getting into muddied waters. What the league wants a fair and even competition, but on its own terms.
When everyone thought that players were heading to Melbourne on the cheap because they wanted to play in a highly successful side, no one cared about it.
If those same players now decide they want to take less money to stay in a highly successful side, its none of anyone else business!
The NRL can not dictate to players what they HAVE to make. The salary cap, by the laws of the land, is already a restrain of trade as it is. If the NRL then goes and tells a player he can not sign with a certain club because he is worth more, and he needs to move or not play at all, that is flat out a restraint of trade by the laws of the land, and it is outside the agreements made in regards to salary cap rules as well.
The NRL can not get into the business of deeming what is a fair contract for a player, if only for the fact that sometimes certain players will be willing to take less money to play for a club of their choice.
Of the team the Storm assembled through illegal means, its not the ones the club developed that piss me off. Its the players they brought in, the likes of Brett Finch, Anthony Quinn, Michael Crocker and the like. Those are the players that gave Melbourne an advantage no other club was able to have. The players the Storm developed, they should be allowed to stay at the club without a shadow of a doubt.
I support the NRL salary cap although I do think changes need to be made.
Its completely obvious that the salary cap in its current for is way to complex. It is forcing clubs to pay players less then what they are worth, and then still cut corners so that every NRL club is fielding minimum wage players who are not up to NRL standard every single week.
The current salary cap rules are good in some areas, but extremely pedantic in others. The NRL cracks down on Parramatta flying Fui Fui Moi Moi’s family out to see a significant game in his career, and yet another club was more than a million dollars over the cap and they had no idea!
The salary cap needs to be simplified, it needs to be straight forward and it needs to be what the current day game needs to be effective in paying players what they are worth, and allowing clubs to have an advantage in holding into players it developed and nurtured into first grade players.
Above all else though, the salary cap needs to be a number. A nameless, soulless, faceless number. A number that didn’t grow up following a certain club. A number that hasn’t got an agenda. A number that isn’t holding a grudge against a club that was cheating right under its nose for the last four years.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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