Top 14 set for salary cap
December 17, 2009
Racing's Sebastien Chabal wrestles with Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson © Getty Images
The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the governing body of the French league system, has announced plans to implement a salary cap in the Top 14 for the 2010-11 season.
France's top flight has long been associated with a cash-rich atmosphere and a high number of big-name foreign imports, the number of which will also be slashed by new LNR plans to foster young French talent.
The salary cap will be set at a relatively conservative €8m (£7.1m), a figure that does still outstrip the current £4m cap imposed on Guinness Premiership clubs. The French league has in recent seasons attracted high-profile signings such as fly-halves Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson as well as current England internationals Riki Flutey and James Haskell.
Clubs will also be ordered to hold 20% of their salary budget in reserve, up from 10%, in order to safeguard against problems similar to those faced by Bourgoin earlier this season when 12 players had their licenses suspended.
The quota of home-grown talent required in each squad has been set at 40%, rising to 50% next season and finishing at 60% in 2012-13. The figure was originally set at 50% next season, angering a number of leading clubs. A player qualifies for the quota if they have been a licensee to the French Rugby Federation (FFR) for five seasons before turning 21 or, if between 16 and 21, have spent three seasons in an approved training centre.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton