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Page last updated at 19:24 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

French rugby introduces salary limit of 7.1m

Jonny Wilkinson shouts instructions for Toulon in their win over Toulouse
England fly-half Wilkinson moved to France in the summer

French rugby's top-flight teams will be forced to implement a salary cap for the start of the 2010/11 season.

The salary cap will be set at £7.1m, a figure that still outstrips the current £4m limit imposed on Guinness Premiership clubs in England.

English rugby has seen an exodus of players move to France in recent years with fly-half Jonny Wilkinson's move to Toulon the highest-profile example.

England's James Haskell and Rikki Flutey also play their rugby in France.

Wilkinson, one of a number of summer arrivals at Toulon, is reportedly on a salary in excess of £600,000 a year, while Stade Francais' total wage bill is thought to be approaching £20m meaning they will need to make drastic cuts to come inside the new limit.


Teams will also have to make greater use of academy players from next season, with 40% of each squad having to come through the youth ranks, a figure that rises to 60% by the start of the 2012/13 season.

"It's up to each individual union and its respective league to set the salary cap," said the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in response to the news.

"We have seen some movement of players to French clubs and obviously financial incentive, though not exclusively, is a factor. We will wait and see what impact, if any, such a salary cap will have."

Premier Rugby, the umbrella body of English rugby's 12 Guinness Premiership clubs, say they welcome the news.

"We have discussed how our salary cap works with our colleagues in France and we think it is the right way to go," a statement read.

However, like the RFU they were non-committal, when asked if they felt it would reduce the number of home-grown players, leaving for France.

"We will just have to see how it works out over the course of the next couple of seasons," added the statement.

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see also
French rugby sets overseas quota
02 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Exporting the English way
31 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England get tough on player moves
25 Feb 09 |  English
Trio quit Wasps to play in France
17 Feb 09 |  London Wasps
Bates 'assumes' Wilkinson to stay
18 Mar 09 |  Newcastle

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