Newcastle managing director Mick Hogan has slammed demands by Saracens to increase the salary cap, describing a suggestion by Sarries boss Mark McCall that greater financial allowances should be made for home-grown players as a “non-starter”.
McCall has voiced fears his club could lose a number of their Lions when they come out of contract over the next two years, claiming their agents’ demands for higher wages may not be possible to accommodate within the existing £7m cap.
The Irishman wants to see a greater percentage of salaries for club-produced players parked outside the cap, which would enable Saracens to retain more of their stars such as Owen Farrell, who this week penned a new five-year contract.
However, with Premiership clubs currently losing £15m-£20m between them annually, Falcons boss Hogan, below right, told The Rugby Paper: “For the health and long-term growth of the game, until we have three-quarters of our clubs able to spend to the cap at a break-even position, it shouldn’t be considered.
“If you provide additional allowances for players you’re still increasing the amount that club is allowed to spend at a time when very few clubs are achieving profitability or even coming close.
“We’ve got to get the game continuing to grow but in a sustainable way – and increasing the salary cap, however you dress it up, won’t achieve that.”
Hogan added: “The salary cap is already at a level where Newcastle and others can’t spend to it, so you should only look to move the cap up when nine out of the 12 clubs can do it, otherwise you’re just inflating salaries and pushing even more money the way of agents.
“The only two ways you could recoup the costs then is for the owners to put in more money, which for me is a non-starter because they already do enough, or you charge fans more for their tickets, which again is a non-starter because the sport will be less accessible.”
Meanwhile, Hogan has issued a robust ‘hands off’ warning to clubs about flanker Mark Wilson, who was capped by England over the summer and is reported to have attracted interest from Leicester and Northampton.
Hogan said: “Mark is under contract for two more seasons and, as far as we’re concerned, he has a bright future at the Falcons.”