Defending Premiership champions Saracens will appeal their 35-point deduction and fine for breaching the competition’s salary cap.
Saracens received a massive blow on Tuesday when the findings of an investigation into the club’s financial structure were announced by Premiership Rugby.
An independent panel confirmed that Saracens failed to disclose payments to players in the previous three seasons as well as exceeding the ceiling for payments to senior players over the same period. Saracens were fined just over £5 million and handed a 35-point deduction as a result and now face a battle to stay in the Premiership. Their punishment was suspended pending their appeal.
If Saracens’ appeal fails, they will be left on -26 points on the log. The Newcastle Falcons were relegated last season after finishing with 31 points from 22 games. The Telegraph has reported that Sarries’ rivals would consider abandoning matches against them if the club takes their appeal to the High Court.
British media reported that Saracens’ England internationals Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola brothers were all implicated in entering into business partnerships with club chairperson Nigel Wray.
Wray has been involved with the club since 1995 and described the punishment as ‘devastating’ for both the club and its fans.
‘It feels like the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet,’ Wray said in a statement. ‘We will appeal all the findings.’
The Premiership salary cap was introduced in 1999 to ensure that every club stays financially viable as well as a level playing field. The current cap is £7m, but that does not include two ‘marquee players’ whose salaries are outside the cap.
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