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NRL making progress with new-look cap

The NRL is preparing to roll out a new-look salary cap by the start of the 2015 season having nearly completed an exhaustive look at ways to improve the current system.
NRL making progress with new-look cap
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Oct 30 AAP - The NRL is preparing to roll out a new-look salary cap by the start of the 2015 season having nearly completed an exhaustive look at ways to improve the current system.

Chief operating officer Jim Doyle and head of football Todd Greenberg have counselled players, clubs, fans, sponsors and player managers before engaging sections of the media on Tuesday to gauge ideas to overhaul the cap and bring it in line with the modern game.

Transfer windows and fees are being considered, while the abolition of the second-tier mechanism to allow clubs to include players outside their top-25 under one cap is almost certain.

In one of the biggest shake-ups to the game since Super League, the NRL is expected to complete its research and submit a blueprint for approval by the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) by the end of the month.

Marquee players allowances are high on the agenda, with the current figure of $600,000 for each club and how it's used under scrutiny.

Veteran player allowances, which currently involve a $200,000 cap discount for players with eight consecutive years' service with one club, are also being examined.

Discussions have taken place about potentially reducing the number of years served for a player to qualify and spreading it out to more than one player.

Last season saw the clubs' $7 million annual grant from the NRL exceed the $5.85 million cap for the first time.

The cap will rise to $6.3 million next year and by a further $250,000 in 2016 and then by $200,000 in 2017 and 2018.

"We've looked at other sports both domestically and internationally who use a salary cap," Doyle said.

"We're addressing what issues have been coming up for a while and what needs to be changed."

Any changes to how cash is distributed from the cap would require tweaking the new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), that was signed off by the RLPA and the NRL last February.

However, Doyle said he did not envisage any problems if it was of benefit to the players.

"It wouldn't be an issue I don't think and wouldn't take up too much time, providing the players were happy with it," he said.

"But it's very important to note that any changes won't only affect the big-name star players but all players.

"We still have a way to to go before we put all of the ideas together, but we hope to have something before the year is out.

"But anything significant wouldn't kick in until the 2015 season. Clubs have already worked on their budgets for next year and their rosters are completed.

"But if we can bring in some smaller changes in time for next year we will."

The prospect of a so-called "luxury tax" is also under consideration with moves afoot to potentially invoke a cap on a club's football department spending.

The system is being considered by the AFL to try and equalise its competition and is used by Major League Baseball in the US.

Melbourne Storm currently spend the most amount of money on their football department which is currently exempt from any cap, and they recently lost their highly-regarded strength and conditioning coach Alex Corvo to cashed-up Brisbane.

"These are not measures we're saying will be brought in, but they are just things we are looking at," Doyle said.

"We don't want to penalise clubs who have excellent football departments, but it's just another thing that we're assessing."




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