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Revealed: The Outlandish Budget Of Each Top 14 Club

Racing 92 v Northampton Saints - European Rugby Champions Cup

The Top 14 season began last weekend.

The French Top 14 is by some way rugby’s wealthiest club competition. Fuelled by multi millionaire owners and massive TV deals, very few of rugby’s biggest names are outside of the reach of France’s elite clubs.

Although the Ligue Nationale de Rugby and it’s financial watchdog the Direction nationale d’aide et de contrôle de gestion are charged imposing a €10 million salary cap, clubs have been accused of finding ways of circumventing the spending limit.

Indeed in July 2015, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby changed the Top 14’s salary cap regulations so as to clamp down on clubs who were sidestepping the existing rules. Although the salary cap remained at €10 million, the LNR stipulated that player bonuses exceeding 10% of their annual salary must now be included within that limit.

This immediately raised the ire of Toulon owner, Mourad Boudjellal, who admitted in an interview with Le rugby Nistere last December, ‘on average, my players receive 10-20% of their income in bonuses, but for some it is 50%’.

The rule change was the catalyst for Boudjellal threatening to withdraw the Toulon from the Top 14 and join the Premiership.

Although any such ideas were mere pipe dreams, after Toulon were recently fined €100,000 for breaching the salary cap by the same sum during the 2014/15 season, Boudjellal not only promised to challenge the findings of the LNR, but formally announced that he would challenge for the Presidency of the organisation in October.

While he will most likely fail to win either of those campaigns, the fact that the LNR signed a new broadcast agreement with Canal+ worth €97 million per season between the 2019/20 and 2022/23 seasons, means that Top 14 clubs will have more money than ever before at their disposal.

Therefore, even with the imposition of the JIFF regulations, French clubs will continue to target the best southern hemisphere talent. Indeed, if the current budgets are anything to go by, players will find it difficult to turn down a move to the Top 14 in four seasons time.

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Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.