Top 14
French rugby chiefs agree salary cap rise
ESPN Staff
April 17, 2013
Try time for South Africa' Bryan Habana, South Africa v Australia, The Rugby Championship, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa, September 29, 2012
Springboks winger Bryan Habana is one of the latest big names to be lured to the Top 14 © Getty Images

The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the umbrella body representing France's leading clubs, has announced that the Top 14 salary cap will rise to €10m (£8.6m) as of next season.

The new figure is a €500,000 increase on the present limit but crucially youth players will no longer be included in the salary cap unless they earn in excess of €50,000 (£43,000) a year in a move designed to encourage the development of fresh talent. The latter ceiling will be reviewed on an annual basis but the actual salary cap, that was raised from €8.7m to €9.5m this season, will be remain in place for the next three campaigns.

France's top division has long been the dominant financial force in European club rugby and the clubs regularly attract the world's best players with Leinster's Jonathan Sexton and South Africa international Bryan Habana the latest to agree to big money moves to Racing Metro and Toulon respectively.

That trend look likely to continue with the English Premiership salary cap currently set at £4.26m rising to a maximum of £4.5m with the continuation of the 'Academy Credits' that reward clubs for bring through their own talent. In addition, they are allowed to nominate one 'Excluded Player' whose salary can be discounted.

Welsh rugby has suffered the most as a result of French rugby's financial dominance with centre Jamie Roberts just the latest of a long line of internationals to opt for a cross-Channel switch with Racing Metro his expected destination. The cash-strapped four Welsh regions introduced a £3.5m salary cap this season to cover players registered for European squads with development and academy costs falling outside of this remit.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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