The funds clubs receive come in a variety of forms e.g. sponsorship, gate receipts and merchandise. However, there are other forms of income that they are eligible for and one of these is ‘Homegrown player credits’.
So what are homegrown player credits? According to Premiership Salary Structure the definition of a homegrown player credit is as follows ‘A club shall be entitled to £400,000 worth of credits for players (£50,000) per homegrown player who have graduated from the clubs academy.’ The criteria for a qualifying player is that the player must have joined the club before their 18th birthday and earns more than £30,000.
In the eventuality that a players earns in excess of £50,000 what happens? Here is an example. If a qualifying player earns £60,000 then only £10,000 will count towards the salary cap.
I find this very interesting as it seems like premiership rugby are trying to work with the RFU and get clubs to promote players from their academy by providing a financial incentive. Especially when you consider that for 2016/17 these credits increase to £500,000 and in 2017/18 they increase again to £600,000.
This got me thinking about one of my previous posts Academy Origins where I went through the players in the senior squads of the premiership clubs and worked out which clubs have produced the most professional players from their academies, as to which clubs currently try and make use of the homegrown player credits by promoting from within.
So which clubs this season have used the most players that have come through their academy instead of signing a new player? All the numbers I’m quoting are based on players involved in the match day 23 from premiership games this season.
- Harlequins – 15
- Sale Sharks and Gloucester – 12
- Saracens – 11
- Leicester Tigers – 10
- Wasps and Bath – 9
- Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs – 7
- London Irish and Newcastle – 6
- Worcester Warriors- 5
At first glance this looks like some clubs are really struggling to bring players through, but as with most things first glances can be deceiving as both Worcester and London Irish have had their academies ravaged by bigger clubs.
If we take London Irish as an example over recent years they have lost the following players: Anthony Watson, David Sisi, Matt Garvey, Tom Homer and Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Steffon and Delon Armitage (Toulon), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Alex Corbisiero, Jon Fisher and Jamie Gibson (Northampton) as well as coaches Neil Hatley and Toby Booth to Bath.
So what does this all mean? It looks like some clubs are really trying to take advantage of the homegrown player credits and are doing so very successfully while other are trying their best but have their top talent taken away from them before they can really reap the rewards of their effort over the years. Hopefully, with an increase in budget for the homegrown player credits this will encourage more clubs to develop players through their academies and into the first XV.
We are at exciting time in English rugby with a large number of young players coming through into the premiership to entertain the crowds. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and am going to buckle up for the ride.