Saracens accept £5m fine and points deduction

Tainted triumph: Saracens lift the Premiership trophy.
Tainted triumph: Saracens lift the Premiership trophy.
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Saracens have chosen not to appeal against their 35-point deduction and £5.36m fine for salary cap breaches.

The English and European champions and Premiership Rugby have released a joint statement declaring the verdict of the independent disciplinary panel will stand unchallenged.

In an apparent admission of guilt, Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said: “We have made mistakes and so, with humility, we must accept these penalties.

“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.”

The maximum possible fine and points deduction were approved for breaches during three seasons up to and including the 2018-19 campaign and follows a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby.

The Sport Resolutions panel, chaired by Lord Dyson, upheld all charges after finding that Saracens had failed to disclose payments to players and exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons.

Wray revealed the decision not to appeal was on the grounds that it would be “a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise”, adding that it was also important to act for the “good of the game”.

The 71-year-old had previously stated that co-investments with players did not constitute salary and should, therefore, not not count towards the £7m salary cap.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“We are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season.”