Hume league president Brendan I'Anson has warned cashed-up Hume league clubs will face increased scrutiny in regards to the salary cap this season.
Clubs had minimal expenditure last year after the season was ruined by COVID-19 with player payments by far the biggest financial burden.
The silver lining for a lot of Hume league clubs was they now find themselves in the best financial shape for decades.
I know of four clubs that have more than $100,000 in the bank and I suspect there are two more.Brendan I'Anson
Clubs who earn additional income from crops and livestock are reaping the dividends after a bumper harvest and the livestock market also booming after favourable seasonal conditions.
I'Anson estimated that half of the clubs in the competition would start the season with more than $100,000 in the bank.
"We have got some very wealthy clubs in the league," I'Anson said.
"I know of four clubs that have more than $100,000 in the bank and I suspect there are two more.
"I know one club that basically invested its whole budget this year on cattle and with the market booming will be raking in the cash.
"And that's a credit to the club involved because they have got some smart business men.
"It's no secret that the clubs the furthest away from Albury need to pay more to attract players.
"But with so many more clubs cashed-up, we need to keep an eye on them all."
The Hume league salary cap was reduced from $95,000 to $80,000 this season to ease the financial pressure on clubs.
The discrepancy with the neighbouring Tallangatta league has been a major talking point after it reduced its salary cap from $80,000 to $65,000.
I'Anson agreed the two leagues should be on a level playing field.
"I thought Peter Cook made some valid points with his comments," he said.
"But if we dropped our salary cap to $65,000 and with so many cashed-up clubs in the league, the temptation to rort the cap becomes almost irresistible.
"So that's why we decided on $80,000 which was the same reduction as the Tallangatta league.
"As a league we are going to be keeping a very close eye on all clubs in regards to the cap.
"We will be a lot more stringent - it's our responsibility.
"What I would like to see clubs do is spend the extra cash on subsidising costs for juniors and developing the kids."
I'Anson said he gets frustrated by people who refer to the Hume league as only having a 'soft' salary cap.
Although he conceded that the points system was a lot easier to police.
"It's a salary cap and it's here to stay," he said.
"Alongside the points system which I feel is the best equalisation measure that leagues have got.
"With the salary cap you have to investigate potential breaches but the points system is black and white."
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I'Anson revealed that two clubs were investigated by an independent auditor in 2019.
"We have looked at clubs previously and they have been fine," he said.
"Clubs who sign a stack of new recruits will obviously come under the microscope."
I'Anson said the league was determined to leave no stone unturned this year in its bid for the season to go ahead.
"You can be assured any way we are allowed within the rules regulations of NSW Health, we will play sport," he said.