Saracens confirm they will NOT appeal against fine and 35-point penalty imposed for salary cap breaches

Saracens have confirmed they will not be appealing against the £5.4million fine and 35-point penalty imposed for breaching the Premiership Rugby salary cap.

The back-to-back Premiership winners and reigning European champions had initially announced their intention to contest what they deemed to be ‘heavy-handed’ punishments, with club chairman Nigel Wray describing the sanctions as ‘absolutely devastating’.

But Saracens have now taken the decision to accept the verdict, which was made by an independent disciplinary panel.

Sarries will be fighting for survival this season, rather than challenging for another title
Getty Images – Getty

The points penalty comes into immediate effect and drops Saracens from third to the bottom of the Premiership table.

They now sit on -22 points, 26 adrift of Leicester, and in a huge fight to prevent relegation with 18 games to play.

“We have made mistakes and so, with humility, we must accept these penalties,” said Saracens chief Wray.

“As a club, we will now pull together and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

“We confirm our commitment to the salary cap, and the underlying principle of a level playing field, and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard.”

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The breaches relate to the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, and charges were brought against the club following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby.

The charges were referred to an independent panel, chaired by Lord Dyson, who found that Saracens had both failed to disclose payments to players and exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “We welcome Saracens’ decision to accept the verdict of the independent panel and are pleased the club has crucially reaffirmed its commitment to the Premiership Rugby salary cap.

“This is the right outcome for English club rugby. Bringing this process to a conclusion means that we can focus on working in partnership with all clubs to continue to build a competitive and successful league.”

FULL STATEMENT FROM SARACENS CHAIRMAN NIGEL WRAY

“Saracens today confirms that it is not going to appeal the recent ruling of the independent panel in relation to salary cap breaches.

“Any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise and so for the good of the game, the Premiership and this wonderful club and all its great people, a club which I have loved and served for 25 years, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and hopefully soon put this behind us.

“I recognise that the arrangements between myself and players, made in good faith, which comprise the material element of the charges, should have been brought to the attention of the salary cap manager for consultation prior to entering into them.

“It is significant that following extensive investigations the independent panel stated that we have “not deliberately sought to circumvent the regulations” albeit we recognise that some of our actions were considered to be “reckless”.

“As chairman, I must take full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome. It is important to stress that our excellent coaching staff were not involved in these issues in any way.

“In addition, we can confirm that we are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard.

“We will shortly introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including the appointment to the Saracens board of a director, who will oversee a new governance regime. I will continue as always to support the club financially going forwards to ensure there is no financial instability or uncertainty.

“This amazing club, which has been such a huge part of my family’s life and indeed of many, many others, has produced an incredible number of world-class rugby players. About ten of our current team have been together for between seven and ten years, as indeed have all the coaches; fourteen players have played over one hundred times for the Club and for me it is the caring and the closeness of everyone in the Saracens Family that achieves success throughout every part of our wide-ranging Saracens activities, both on the field and away from it.

“Perhaps we have done the wrong thing for the right reasons, but we must now draw a line and come together as Saracens to fully support our players, our coaches and our hard-working staff.”

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