Premiership Rugby wage cap rises to £5.5m

Premiership captains
Premiership rugby sides will be able to bring in a second marquee player from next season

The Premiership salary cap for next season will rise by £500,000 to £5.5m.

Clubs will also be able to name a second player whose wages are excluded from the cap, as long as they arrive from outside the Premiership.

The current basic salary limit stands at £4.76m and will rise to £5.1m, with academy credits increasing from £240,000 to £400,000.

Premiership Rugby's chief executive Mark McCafferty said the move had been made possible by improved revenues.

"The level of the salary cap is linked to central revenues, which have increased significantly in recent years," he said.

2015-16 Premiership salary cap
Basic cap is £5.1m, up from £4.76m in the 2014-15 seasonClubs can now nominate a second player to be excluded from the salary cap
£400k in academy credits, covering players who are under the age of 24, joined the club before their 18th birthday and are earning more than £30k a yearClubs can apply for one injury replacement when one of their players has been injured for a period of 12 weeks or more

"This increase in central revenues has allowed us to increase the salary cap and further help our clubs compete in both the new European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup."

The changes were agreed by chairmen and shareholder groups of Premiership clubs, with the aim of increasing the number of homegrown players in the league.

The proportion of England-qualified players in the Premiership has risen above 70% for the first time this season.

Academy credits cover players who are under the age of 24, joined the club before their 18th birthday and are earning more than £30k a year.

Currently teams can name one marquee player whose wages are not included in the wage cap, but from next year a second exclusive player can also be named, as long as they have not featured in the Premiership during the previous 12 months.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young told BBC Radio 5 live: "I see it all as a positive measure. The important thing for English rugby is we keep all our top stars playing in England.

"After the World Cup there will be a lot of hot property, so it helps us keep hold of the players.

"The second marquee player will be the icing on the cake, a quality player which can add to the profile."