St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus says the game needs to build upon its stable financial platform, in response to the news this week that a proposed marquee player rule has been rejected.
McManus voted against the salary cap exemption, which is being heavily pushed by Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash.
The Red Devils, Wigan, Warrington, Widnes and Leeds all voted in favour, with Catalan and Bradford both absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
In a statement, McManus said: “I find it incredulous that clubs who only last season voted (we did not) to disband the Super League‘s under 21s competition in order to save £30,000 to ease their financial positions , can presently be in favour of potentially spending millions on a single ‘marquee’ player.
“The proposition may have merit at the right time, and only then if structured in the right manner, but there are other much more pressing player investment priorities first to be implemented if we are sensibly and seriously to build upon the stable financial platform which the new TV deal and central sponsorships have recently bestowed upon the entire game.
“We should be concentrating our investment resource in our own front yards and prioritise long-term investment in our own British talent. This can be done by restricting any form of salary cap exemption to club produced players in the first instance. We have first to win the confidence of the best athletic talent in this country by creating, and then retaining, our own marquee players. It is only right that clubs should be incentivised to follow this path and that those who make this long-term sacrifice and commitment should ultimately be advantaged by it. Conversely, those who don’t invest long-term and look to prioritise spend on a short-term player fix, should not.
“To adopt a marquee exemption at a time when the game has been provided a stable and long term commercial platform for the first time in its history would be ill-conceived and wholly irresponsible.
“To go head to head at this point with the NRL for their own marquee players is an unnecessary folly of the highest order and which will have catastrophic implications for the game when for the first time we have really got it in order.”