Should Super League Players Get Paid More?

The RFL recently said that it would look to take the Challenge Cup off of free to air television and to a pay tv channel such as ESPN if the BBC did now come up with a decent offer in the next round of negotiations for the rights to broadcast the games longest running competition.

My personal feeling is that the RFL needs to factor in the added bonuses of having its games broadcast to the masses rather than just to those that have pay television and subscribe to certain sports channel.

It would be very easy for Rugby League in the UK to get lost in the British sporting landscape.

What ever the case, another point was brought up by former Great Britian winger Martin Offiah.

He believes that, is a higher paying TV deal comes through then player wages should be raised as well, which in effect is calling for the salary cap to be raised.

Now lets for a minute forget that the Super League salary cap is a non functioning entity right now. That lower table clubs can’t afford to spend up to it, and higher table clubs don’t even consider it when it comes time to sign or re-sign players.

Just for now we’ll pretend that the cap is in effect, that teams don’t spend over it and that it limits what players can earn.

I think if there is a significant increase in the television rights for the game, then fair enough, the RFL should pass a percentage of those earnings onto the players. After all, they are the ones providing the entertainment week in week out.


Right now we are seeing many clubs at every level of the game going into administration. There are a lot of reasons for this, with the major one being mismanagement but to simplify it further, many clubs are just finding they don’t have the money they need to operate a professional club.

The salary cap rules are supposed to stop clubs spending beyond their means, however they simply are not working.

In Super League the gap between the have’s and have not’s is at a point where its almost a division within a division!

If you raised the salary cap tomorrow and gave each club and extra £1 million, most clubs would absorb that money just to cover current operating costs, let alone passing it on to players!

Then you have to question if the players are worth the extra money. Are they worth what they are getting now?

I think its pretty easy to see that the show that Super League puts on doesn’t draw in enough money to cover the costs of running the competition at its current level. At the end of the day the playing group get paid based on what it can earn for the game through television revenue and sponsorship.

Right now, they are not paying their way!

If you took the current Super League player group and paid it what it was worth on the global Rugby League market, mixing it with NRL players, when the dust settled close on 100% of Super League players would be on less than what they earn now.

In short, Super League players, in the grand scheme of things, are not as valuable as some people think they are.

If Great Britain was producing super star players, things would be different. Problem is, Great Britain isn’t producing stars at all.

The best British player right now, Sam Burgess, is earning a lot less than the highest earning players at South Sydney. Other British players that have come across to the NRL, including Gareth Ellis and Adrian Morley in the past, they were not near the highest earners at their club.

Now, Martin Offiah can feel that Super League players today deserve better pay, but he is coming from an era where Great Britain was still producing stars, and he was one of them. Top class player, world class players that performed on the field, performed against the worlds best, and were some of the highest paid players in the game because they produced the goods.

Today’s Super League players….can you say the same thing? This is a competition where the best player from last season was an Australian winger who has never played representative football back home!

I’m all for players earning more money. Its what our game was founded on at the end of the day. However, when you enter into the debate, you have to consider the argument that players need to earn the extra money they demand.

Unless you have a competition that’s poorly run and ends up with an under values television deal (See the NRL), you earn what you earn.

So if Super League players want to earn more money, maybe they should try and earn it.

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