NRL tells greedy players: cap does fit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL tells greedy players: cap does fit

By Steve Jancetic 30/05/2008 04:59:33 PM Comments (0)

The NRL says players crying poor only have themselves to blame and the game's biggest stars are free to earn as much money as they can find through third-party deals.

Sick of being blamed for the player drain to the English Super League and a possible exodus to cashed-up European rugby clubs, the NRL went on the front foot to clarify misconceptions over the salary cap.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said players were not limited by the salary cap in their earning capacity outside club sponsors, provided they did not appear in any endorsements representing their club or wearing their team colours.

Money earned from such deals does not count towards the salary cap or the extra $150,000 allowance given to each club for players to enter endorsement deals via club sponsors.

"Provided it's not part of their contract and it's not a club sponsor, they can earn as much money as they like from approved third parties - there's no cap on it," Annesley said.

"The onus is probably more on the managers, if they can get deals with third-party companies that aren't associated with the club, and they're not using club intellectual property, they can do what they want.

"There's a lot of misconception about it - obviously the club can't guarantee them third-party agreements and they can't use their own sponsors as a way of getting around the cap."

The most obvious example is Sydney Roosters star Willie Mason's deals with the Nine Network and clothing label Champion, neither of which counts towards the Roosters' salary cap because Mason is not representing the club while working for either company.

The issue has come to a head in recent weeks with news St George Illawarra skipper Mark Gasnier was contemplating a move to a French rugby club due to failed third-party deals, on top of the unrelenting flow of players to the Super League.

Just this week current Test lock and Melbourne Storm enforcer Michael Crocker signed a three-year with Hull.

Critics had claimed the NRL was pushing the game's elite to look offshore by making it too hard for players to make money outside of their club contracts.

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