Cueto: Teams are dodging salary cap
October 4, 2013
Mark Cueto © PA Photos
The Aviva Premiership's all-time record try-scorer Mark Cueto claims it is "blatantly obvious" that teams are finding a way to get around the salary cap.
According to Premiership Rugby, the salary cap currently stands at £4.26m with teams allowed to have one player excluded from those financial restrictions. And Cueto, who runs out for Sale Sharks, claims teams are finding ways to beat the salary cap.
"There's no way you can tell me that certain clubs in the Premiership are sticking to the salary cap," Cueto told the Telegraph. "I'm not saying them all, but I certainly think there's a couple. Players know other players. We've all got friends at other clubs and we all know what sort of money players are on.
"You look at a couple of clubs, and for them to be within the salary cap, they would all have to be on pretty average money, and for the names and the players they've got, they're not. So, that's a different conversation. I don't want to get into trouble talking about that, but it's blatantly obvious to everyone involved in the game.
"It is a worry that there's two, three, or four teams that are potentially going to splinter off and create a bit of a Manchester United, Chelsea type situation within the Rugby Premiership. A lot of that is down to finances, and how they're setting up squads, against clubs like ourselves who potentially don't have those finances and strictly stick to the salary cap."
People speculating about other teams breaking the salary cap is nothing new in top flight rugby. London Irish chief Brian Smith, who has seen a number of his top players leave in the off-season, said early this year that "some teams are cheating the salary cap and spending twice what we do on our squad."
But despite Cueto's claims, PRL rugby director Phil Winstanley has denied that teams are finding a way to dodge the salary cap. "With all the depth of information and analysis that's available, what you have to say is that if anything is breaking the cap, it is not an accident", Winstanley said. "If anybody is doing that then they will eventually be exposed, because players talk, employees talk and people make mistakes.
"It is a very detailed process. We can go in and ask for information. That's why I'm keen to make the points that with all those steps … when you add all that up it's quite a robust system, and there's a lot of information being captured."
ESPN understands Premiership Rugby has contacted Cueto and will be asking him to present evidence.
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