TOP BAR - Fixtures

FAQs

FAQs

Player welfare

What is a blood injury?

If a player sustains a blood injury during a game, he is removed from the field of play while he receives treatment. During his treatment, a temporary replacement is brought on, and this replacement is made permanent if the medical assessment deems it necessary for the injured player to have sustained treatment.

What is an HIA?

An HIA is a Head Injury Assessment. This is undertaken by the club’s medical team if there is any indication that a player may have suffered a concussion. A player is removed from the field of play for a short period of time, usually 10 minutes, to complete a series of tests to see if he is concussed. If there is any suspicion that the player is concussed then he will not be allowed to return to the match. During an HIA period, a temporary replacement is brought on for the player being assessed, and this replacement is made permanent if the player fails his HIA.

What actions does Premiership Rugby take to support player welfare?

Premiership Rugby is proud of its work to put player welfare at the heart of its activities. This includes world-leading work on concussion monitoring and recovery, mandatory five weeks summer rest before returning to pre-season training at the club, and required five day turn-arounds between matches to enable players to recover.

Governance and Fair Play

What does a club need to do to join the Premiership?

Clubs wishing to play in the Premiership must fulfil a list of criteria set down by the Professional Game Board and agreed with the RFU Championship. This covers areas such as stadia, club administration and other key roles, community development programmes, ground tenure and ground moves, facilities, medical and safety, marketing, plans to increase attendances, adherence to the Salary cap and playing and contractual commitments. The purpose of the minimum criteria is to set a standard for all clubs to operate by, which all will benefit from.

How does promotion and relegation work in the Premiership and Championship?

Automatic promotion and relegation between the Premiership and the RFU Championship is enshrined in the eight year agreement, called the Professional Game Agreement signed between the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premier Rugby Ltd (PRL) in 2016.

Promotion and relegation is however subject to the Minimum Standards Criteria being fulfilled by the club finishing top of the RFU Championship as outlined above.

What happens if two clubs are placed equal in the Premiership?

In the case of equality at any stage of the season, positions at that stage of the season shall be determined firstly by the number of wins achieved and then on the basis of match points differential. A Club with a larger number of wins shall be placed higher than a Club with the same number of league points but fewer wins.

If clubs have equal league points and equal number of wins then a Club with a larger difference between match points “for” and match points “against” shall be placed higher in the Premiership League than a Club with a smaller difference between match points “for” and match points “against”.

Should two Clubs have the same number of league points and the same match points difference, the Club having scored more match points “for” shall be placed higher in the Premiership League than the Club having the lesser number of match points “for”.

If the above does not establish different Premiership League positions then the Club in the higher position shall be the Club that has achieved the higher aggregate match points scored by it in the same season against the other Club.

If this still does not establish the position then the Club who has won the most matches, excluding its first Premiership League match of the season, then its second Premiership League match and so on, until it can be established which the higher placed Club is.

What is the Salary Cap Framework?

Salary Caps exist in many commercially successful sports around the world. The most obvious examples are the NFL and NHL in the USA, and the NRL and AFL in Australia. The introduction in football of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play and the Premier League clubs’ new financial regulations, together with Salary Caps in Rugby League, County Cricket, French Rugby Union’s Top 14, and the Welsh Regions in rugby union, all demonstrate how European sport has recently grasped the importance of controlling costs and long-term financial sustainability.

As a collective, Premiership Rugby and its clubs led the way in England when they introduced their Salary Cap in 1999 in order to ensure the financial viability of all clubs and the Gallagher Premiership Rugby competition, to control inflationary pressures on clubs’ costs, and to provide a level playing field for clubs to ensure a competitive Gallagher Premiership Rugby competition.

These objectives are borne out in the financial success the league and a healthy turnover of teams at the top of the league with five different Gallagher Premiership Rugby Champions in the last six years.

The level of the Salary Cap and the operation and management of it is reviewed regularly to ensure it is fit for purpose. The Premiership Rugby Board, made up of the 12 Clubs, determines the Regulations and has a Salary Cap Manager, whose role is to monitor and investigate player recruitment and remuneration across the Clubs, to ensure the system is managed in a fair and reasonable manner.

The level of the Salary Cap is proportionate and aligned to the growth of the business and is linked directly to the annual net central distributions to the clubs from Premiership Rugby.

The current level of the Salary Cap for 2017-18 is £7m, plus two Excluded Players whose salaries sit outside the cap, enabling clubs to recruit and retain world class talent. Within the £7 million Salary Cap ceiling, clubs are encouraged to develop home grown talent by accessing up to £600,000 of Home Grown Player Credits. Also, they can provide an unlimited education (academic or vocational) fund to their players, and can replace long-term injured players without impacting on their Salary Cap ceiling.

Injury Dispensations up to a maximum of £400,000 per season continue to be available to each Club, a new England Senior EPS or International Player Credit of up to £80,000 per player has been introduced to cover for player absence during international periods and there is a new overrun tax on any Salary spend of up to 5% over the Base level (5% being £350,000 in 2017-18).

Matches in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby competition get more compelling and competitive every year and the Salary Cap is fundamental to the long-term success of this competition and the clubs who play in it, from both a financial and competitive perspective. This responsible financial management helps support investments made by shareholders, players and fans in building a bright future for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby competition and its clubs.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It is all about the transfer of value from the Club to a Player during each salary cap year (1 July – 30 June). It is the combined “salaries” of all Players at the Club. There is no restriction upon an individual’s Salary but on the whole squad spend.

When looking at a Player for Salary Cap purposes we include a broad web of connections such as family members (e.g. spouse child, parents), the Player’s Agent, any company, trust or organisation, and so on.

When looking at a Club for Salary Cap purposes we include a broad web of connections such as any Director, officer or employee (excluding Players) of that Club; any family member/spouse/partner of any Director, officer or employee (excluding Players) of that Club; a shareholder; a sponsor; any company, trust, partnership, or other body, organisation, and so on.

WHAT GOES IN?

Amounts which are paid or payable (or in the case of a benefit in kind, provided or to be provided) directly or indirectly, onshore or offshore, by or on behalf of a Club or any Connected Party or Third Party of the Club, to or in respect of a Player or any Connected Party of the Player…..

Amounts that are Included:

Salary, wage, fee, remuneration etc.
Bonus (match, win, year-end etc.)
National insurance
Loan (not paid back in full before end of SCY loan was made).
Child support / maintenance /school fees
Accommodation or holiday cost
Pension (incl. annuities)
Image Rights payments
Payment in connection with promotional, media or endorsement work
Payment for off-field activities for or on behalf of club
Signing on fee, transfer payment, relocation allowance or payment linked to transfer
Accommodation, holidays, cars, match tickets (other than 4 per match), clothing (other than training kit, official club blazers and other club wear), travel, membership fees, food and drink (other than at matches and training)
Payment in kind a player would not have received were not for his involvement with a Club
Redundancy/Compromise etc.
Agent Fees plus VAT & NI
Any 3rd Party & Connected Party (e.g. sponsor) payment unless demonstrated separate

Amounts that are Excluded:

International match fees, bonuses, etc.
Legitimate and reasonable expenses
Player’s personal private medical insurance including Rugby Care scheme
Benefit Year (testimonial)
Education fees (e.g. university tuition fees, joinery course fees etc.) for the player
A season long Loan Player x 3 players
A player who is Injured for the entire season

HOW IS IT MANAGED?

On-going monitoring and investigations

Throughout the year every Premiership Rugby Club is required to submit to the Salary Cap Manager within 28 days of signing full copies of all Contracts and arrangements for playing (employment) and non-playing (e.g. image rights) services. All documents relating to Loans and copies of any Contracts/written documents evidencing payments to Player Agents are provided. These submissions are reviewed on an on-going basis and the Salary Cap Manager has the ability to investigate any arrangement between a Player and a Club. Player interviews are carried out on a regular basis to support the management of the Salary Cap. There is also a formal whistle blowing policy.

Annual Audit

In July each pre-season every Premiership Rugby Club will provide the Salary Cap Manager for the new Season. This information is presented to the Board of Premiership Rugby. In September each season every Premiership Rugby Club provides the Salary Cap Manager with Certification setting out their spend during the previous Salary Cap Year. Both of these documents are approved by a Club’s Board and signed off by the Chairman, Chief Executive and Finance Director. The independent auditors (PWC) (during October and November) audit each Club in accordance with the Salary Cap Regulations. The audit results are presented to the Board of Premiership Rugby and shared with each Club.

How many foreign or overseas players can play in the Premiership?

It is important to note that the legal definition of foreign players is different to one of non-English players. In addition, players can fall under the Bosman or Kolpak rule. The Bosman ruling reinforced the Treaty of Rome in a sporting context, allowing the free movement of EU national workers around other EU countries. This effectively means any EU national has the same rights as any ‘local’ worker and therefore cannot be defined as a foreigner.

In the Premiership, the rule on foreign players has been amended to come into line with the regulations in European competitions. A maximum of two foreign players can now be on the pitch at any one time, at all periods during the season.

The level of English Qualified Players (EQP) in the Premiership has been fairly consistent since the inception of the league, and now stands at approximately 70%. This means on average there are approximately 200 English players playing every weekend in the Premiership.

What is the disciplinary process?

Breaches of discipline in Premiership matches and in the Anglo Welsh competition will be dealt with by the RFU disciplinary process. A full copy of the RFU disciplinary regulations is available here. Breaches of discipline in Heineken Cup or European Challenge Cup matches are dealt with by EPCR under the terms of their participation agreement with the Premiership clubs.

What is the Injury Audit and what does it do?

The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) is the most comprehensive and longest running injury surveillance project in Professional rugby union.

It monitors injury risk in English Premiership Clubs and the England Senior team over time and allows for the targeted investigation of specific areas of injury risk. This is done in the form of an Injury Audit that is released each year in partnership with the RFU and the RPA.

To see the latest Audit click here

What is done to educate players on anti-doping?

Premiership Rugby condemns doping, which is the illegal use of prohibited substances and methods, as prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code and Prohibited List, to enhance performance.
Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) work together against doping, including supporting the implementation of a comprehensive and effective anti-doping programme of education, testing and results management aimed at deterring and detecting doping.

In 2010, England became the first major rugby nation to implement an out of competition illicit drugs education, testing and rehabilitation programme.This programme is designed to address the gap in WADA testing which does not test players for illicit drugs (cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy) on non-match days.

Players testing positive for illicit drugs will be offered education and counselling on the dangers of illicit drug use.

A list of banned substances can be found on the UKAD website here.

Fixtures selection

How are the fixtures for Premiership Rugby constructed?

The fixtures for the upcoming season are usually announced in July before that season commences.

The process for selecting this first group of fixtures takes up to six months. The process actually begins in January, when the season structure for the coming season is agreed by the Professional Game Board. Premiership Rugby then works with ATOS, an IT company that also work with the Premier League and EFL on their fixtures, to develop Premiership Rugby’s fixture list. From January we look at all possible options for fixtures, and then in March we consult with the clubs on a number of variables that will impact the fixtures list.

Some of these are club preferences, such as intentions to play home matches at 3rd party venues on specific dates, and some are very practical, such as ground unavailability due to, for example, local events, Premier League or EFL fixtures, building work, police requests etc.

We take all of this into account when we draw up the schedule and try our best to accommodate them in the final version.

We receive a first draft of the fixtures list in June and then we spend a few weeks refining it until we can be confident that we have a fair season structure with a good flow. What we’re looking for in terms of the flow is points like ensuring there are no more than two home/away matches in a row. We also want the final version to deliver as many club requests as possible. Once we are happy, then we can announce to fans and the public.

How does BT Sport decide and announce their live broadcast selections?

Premiership Rugby works very closely with BT Sport on selecting live broadcast matches.

As part of that Premiership Rugby will release the TV selections for the first 10 rounds of Premiership Rugby matches on BT Sport at the same time as we release the fixtures, all as part of the July announcement. So fans will find out the TV schedule for the first 10 matches on the same day. This helps fans to plan and is in line with BT Sport’s commitment to give fans more than 10 weeks notice of changes to kick-off times.

How are matches picked for broadcast?

There are meetings held at specific times throughout the season with BT Sport to pick blocks of broadcast matches.

These are decided on numerous criteria but take into account club requests, restrictions on some clubs that mean they can’t play on certain days and player welfare.

How is it that you can announce some fixtures, such as the USA game, before the main fixtures?

With certain fixtures, we know a long way ahead of time when they are going to take place because the planning process for them is more complicated and so takes longer to complete. The USA game is a good example of this. As a result, we are in a position to announce the dates earlier than the other fixtures and we believe it benefits the fans to have sight of those dates as soon as possible. So we announce those events separately.

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