United Rugby Championship: ‘New league will need financial regulation’ – BBC Sport

The United Rugby Championship – how the revamped competition will work

The United Rugby Championship will need financial regulation in the future to compete with the best leagues in world sport, says its chief executive.

While the English Premiership and French Top 14 both have salary caps, the URC, formerly the Pro14, does not.

But Martin Anayi told BBC Sport that could change.

“If you look at any well run professional sport in the world it has a solid salary cap and cost base, and we don’t,” he said.

“You need a system where you try and peg cost to revenue.

“That is what we don’t have, but I can see it happening some time in the future.

“[At the moment] our [cost base] goes up, but it doesn’t go up in relation to how fast or slow commercial revenues are going up.

“That’s a problem long term, so we need to fix it.”

Anayi says a fixed salary cap like in France or England would be difficult to manage in the URC, given the various currencies, territories and ownership models involved across the league.

However, he says the regulations used in American sport can act as an example of how to increase the competitiveness of a tournament while also growing clubs on and off the field.

“If you look at the States, they can only spend a proportion of what they get centrally on players wages and coaching,” he explained.

“Everything else goes into the rest of the business and that’s why facilities are fantastic and fan engagement is incredible.

“That’s a system we can look to in the future.

“If I look at professional rugby over 10 years, we are all doing a job of increasing revenues, and there is absolutely no point that every single pound of that goes to just one area of the business: players, coaches and agents.

“It should go to them, but it should go to them proportionately, and we should model that on how it works in the NBA or in the NFL in the States, which I think works reasonably well.

“Professional rugby needs to invest better in facilities, improve on fan engagement, and improve on things outside the game on the pitch.”

Anayi adds that league bosses will work with European Professional Club Rugby [EPCR] and the world governing body World Rugby in order to come up with a financial strategy which could be applied across competitions and territories.

“We are all facing the same challenges,” he added.

“If we look at the medium and long term we need to be all operating off the same cost base for our competitions to be as competitive as they should be.

“My personal opinion, and the new CEO at World Rugby Alan Gilpin is really important to this, and any discussions at EPCR are really important to this, is that it needs to be as universally applied a salary cap and cost-base system as possible.

“And that will take some time to piece through.”

South African sides ‘among top 10 in world’ – URC chief Martin Anayi

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