This article looks at the salaries of rugby players at ASM Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14.
It’s true that individual salaries are private contracts and the details are seldom made public by the club.
However, several companies associated with players publish annual statistics and other details. We can make good estimates on salary ranges within a club while also identifying the highest earners.
How Do Clermont Rugby Players Get Paid?
First, let’s take a look at how the players are paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Their entire salary can be made up of several income streams:
- Monthly salary from the club
- Win bonuses
- Brand deals, image rights, endorsements, and sponsorships
Clermont pays the monthly salary and bonuses.
The club can give players up to 10% of their salaries in total bonuses without the amounts being counted toward the salary cap.
Brand deals and sponsorships
Brand deals and sponsorships from third parties can be worth very different amounts across players, so I won’t go into these.
Image rights may be paid by third parties who want to use player photos in their advertising.
This varies from huge brands (e.g. sporting gear or aftershave) to local retail stores.
If you live in a local town, you may see the images of lesser-known players promoting local businesses.
How Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 season was shortened for all French rugby competitions due to Covid restrictions. Match attendances were also reduced.
TV revenue took a dive due to the shorter season. The drop in gate receipts also hit club income.
The French clubs are in discussion with players about the impact of a lower salary cap.
This article uses the averages and reported salaries of more normal times. You can mentally reduce the figures in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Clermont Rugby Player?
The average salary for ASM Clermont rugby players is about €240K per annum for senior players. Star players earn significantly more.
Academy players on junior contracts earn about €16K. Their first senior contract jumps to €60K. This will double within the next few years of their career.
Academy players in their first year must also attend educational courses. This will include the French language if they are from overseas.
These are average salaries but some senior players are on significantly higher amounts. You’ll see this in the next section.
However, clubs must keep their budget within the agreed salary cap for the competition.
Who Are The Highest Paid Clermont Rugby Players?
Clermont’s highest-paid player in recent years is Morgan Parra. His contract was reputed to be about €670K per year.
This may seem a little overvalued as he is no longer the first choice scrum-half on the French national team.
But Clermont values Parra as someone who can play both nine and ten at a high level. He’s also an outstanding placekicker.
You’ll see shortly that the outhalf position commands a premium.
Other players in the higher salary range
We’ve given you the average. But there will be players at the top and bottom of a range of different salaries.
Esportif publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the Top 14. These are the top six:
- tighthead prop
- outside centre
- number eight
- inside centre
The position of fly-half is also the most valued in the England Premiership and the URC (what was the PRO 14). However, the order of positions then diverges between the countries.
Prop Rabah Slimani can switch between loose and tighthead, which gives him extra value. We’d expect him to be one of the top earners at Clermont.
Wesley Fofana is an outstanding centre and is another high earner at the club.
Lock Sebastian Vahaamahina is another player who will be well above the average salary.
Top 14 Salary Cap
Clubs in the Top 14 are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad.
Clermont usually has several players in the French national squad. The club gets an extra €200K added to their cap for each player.
The junior contracts of academy players aren’t counted in the cap.
How Does The Club Afford High Salaries?
You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover these types of salaries. The answer is that they’re not. Tickets account for 20% of their budget.
Television rights bring in another 17%.
The majority of annual funding comes from several partners with the club. Of course, the biggest partner is Michelin – famous for its tyres.
You can read more about this in our article that looks at who owns the ASM Clermont rugby club. No, it’s not Michelin!