The salary cap reworked – would a minimum spend be better?

Reports that Marwan Koukash is chasing Sonny Bill Williams, however unlikely they might appear, have brought the salary cap back into sharp focus.

Koukash has consistently argued for a marquee player allowance since becoming involved with the Reds at the start of the year.

But is it time to completely look again at the concept of the salary cap?

When promotion and relegation returns in 2015, should it do so with some element of minimum standards – one of which being a guaranteed minimum spend on salary?

So instead of capping salaries, one of the criteria for being in Super League would be a commitment and financial capability of spending a set minimum amount on player wages.

Haven’t got the dosh to come to the party? We’ll save you from yourself: head over there to Super League 2, please.

It all depends on your aims for the top flight. Want an elite league with only the biggest and best, on and off the field? A minimum salary cap spend would certainly be one way of restricting the number of clubs who could feasibly join Super League.

Or do you want a top league open to anybody, providing they get the right on-field performances in any given season to take them to promotion?

That one point seems to be the crux of the enormous debate in which British rugby league is currently engaged.

Aim for the stars and let the top clubs push on, encouraging others to strive for the same levels if they want to compete? Or restrict the top clubs until everyone else catches up?

It’s not an easy puzzle to solve.

Ten days from the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final – and what a cracker it should be, with in-form Hull coming up against a stuttering Wigan – and I’ve heard a few people talking about how the Wembley match should revert back to being earlier in the season.


The later stages of Challenge Cup should be played when teams are in full flow, not at the start of the year.

The season needs to finish with a brilliant climax, which Wembley, the play-offs and Old Trafford now provide over the course of six thrilling weeks.

Some complain that it’s now almost impossible to do the double. So what? It’s not meant to be easy. Nothing in rugby league is.

If there’s an issue about the early part of the season not having enough interest, that’s because the season itself is too long – a problem far bigger to solve than switching the date of our walk down Wembley Way.

Finally, does anyone fancy picking a winner of either the Super League or Championship Grand Final? Me neither.

There are arguments that at least four Super League clubs, and maybe up to six, are genuine contenders for Old Trafford. Five teams will fancy their chances in the Championship.

Have we ever had such unpredictable competition? Sit back and enjoy the next few weeks. They should be pretty spectacular.

Any thoughts? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

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