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NEWS: Premier rugby statement on Sarries


By Saint Ted
November 5 2019

PREMIERSHIP RUGBY can confirm that an independent disciplinary panel has reached a decision in respect of charges brought against Saracens Rugby Club for alleged breaches of the Premiership Rugby Salary Cap.

The charges, which relate to the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, were brought in June 2019 following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby. In accordance with the Salary Cap Regulations, such charges are referred to the independent dispute service, Sport Resolutions, which appoints an Independent Panel to determine whether the alleged breaches have occurred and to decide any sanction.

The Independent Panel -which conducted a hearing over five days in September and October 2019 - was chaired by the Rt. Hon. Lord Dyson, who was joined on the panel by Aidan Robertson QC and Jeremy Summers. Lord Dyson was Master of the Rolls (President of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and Head of Civil Justice) for four years until he retired in October 2016. He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from April 2010 until October 2012.

The decision of the Independent Panel is that Saracens Rugby Club failed to disclose payments to players in each of the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. In addition, the Club is found to have exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons. The Panel therefore upheld all of the charges.

The sanction that has been imposed on Saracens Rugby Club by the panel is:

  • a total fine of £5,360,272.31
  • and a total deduction of 35 league points.

The Salary Cap Regulations stipulate that a points deduction may be imposed in the current season (2019-20) only. The sanction has no bearing on any other domestic or European competition.

The Independent Panel rejected the Club’s challenge on competition law grounds to the validity of the Regulations. In setting out its conclusions, the Panel noted that the salary cap operates in a pro-competitive manner by promoting the objectives of ensuring the financial viability of Clubs, controlling inflationary pressures, providing a level playing field, ensuring a competitive league and enabling Clubs to compete in European competitions.

Under the Regulations, Saracens Rugby Club has the ability to seek a review of the decision by an arbitration body. The review can only be on the basis that there has been an error of law, the decision is irrational or that there has been some procedural unfairness. In the event that Saracens Rugby Club seeks a review, the sanctions will be suspended pending the outcome of that review.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: "The Salary Cap is an important mechanism to ensure a level playing field for Premiership Clubs and maintain a competitive, growing and financially sustainable league. Today’s decision by the Independent Panel upholds both the principle of the Salary Cap and the charges brought following an extensive investigation by Premiership Rugby. We are pleased that this process has reached a conclusion and we look forward to another exciting season of Premiership Rugby.”

 

Full Statement can be found Here

Salary cap rules can be found here

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NEWS: Premier rugby statement on Sarries
Discussion started by Marching On , 05/11/2019 11:33
Marching On
05/11/2019 11:33
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Saintalex
05/11/2019 10:52
Deducted 35 points and given 5 million fine

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 10:50
35 points docked

£5m fine



Thanks very much



[www.dailymail.co.uk]

Abington Adam
05/11/2019 10:59
Well done to the Daily Mail sports journalists who uncovered this and kept the spotlight on the issue. It remains to be seen if this will force Saracens to jettison players to bring their squad in to line with the cap in future, or if those payments were one offs that will avoid those kind of repercussions. One thing we know now is that for all their gimmicks, for all their "honesty, discilpine, humility" (HA!), for all the "players want to be here because it's a great culture", for all that, they won it all by cheating and they have tarnished the game that we love.

COME ON YOU SAINTS!
Church's Stand season ticket holder
EMRU Referee



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:05:11:00:14 by Abington Adam.

ajack
05/11/2019 11:03
Wow not exactly swept under the table and a slap on the wrists that so many predicted. Enter the legal bods no doubt.

So the Daily Mail have top journalists, there is a turn up.

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 11:05
I think itís important to note this is not a reflection on the supporters or the players. They have a rich owner who is happy to cheat to win, IMHO that is all.

Al from Cov
05/11/2019 11:06
The players knew full well what was going on, they all have agents that advise them, I'm afraid they are as complicit as the owner

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 11:10
Which players though? Just the ones who have benefitted? What about the rest of the squad?


Shouldnít they be stripped of their titles as well? Doesnít it mean theyíre well over the cap this year? Do they need to let some players go or are they allowed to crack on with more resources than everyone else ?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:11:05:11:16:38 by Wilson Pickett.

serious_saint
05/11/2019 11:17
I do think some of the players are complicit in this. Rumours abound of players wives been paid handsomely for various administrative roles around the club too. Hopefully the full report and judgement will be published as it'll make for interesting reading.

Saint Stokey
05/11/2019 11:20
If they stay up this season, then they will have to offload some big names. Sounds like Liam Williams is off back to Wales, but he's not going to cut it.

To get hit with a £5million fine suggest that they were HUGELY over the cap so significant departures are likely. Let the cherry picking commence!

The trouble is... who can afford to. With most squads finalised for the year, who has the room in their Cap for an Itoje or a Farrell?


Having said that... we have just released Brussow and rumours of Dylan are going to release big lumps of cash; so... who have we got our eye on?

Thrupp artist
05/11/2019 11:20
My view has always been that at the end of their careers the players will be tainted by this - they know that their success (as part of the team) was achieved unfairly.

Walks11
05/11/2019 11:23
I would say the players are in a small way complicit as they would have known full well what is going on albeit not to the full extent. The owner and management must take full responsibility although I suspect this will rumble on and on with endless appeals. If the findings are for previous seasons they absolutely must be stripped of those titles.

It has been blindingly obviously to all the significant difference in quality and depth of squads, this isn't a small difference when they can still field a significant number of internationals despite a huge number away at the WC. I am a big admirer of McCall and his coaching team but they have achieved what they have by ignoring the cap.

Personally I feel for the players despite them being in a small way complicit as their future is now uncertain and it won't be easy finding other clubs at a drop of a hat if this what it ends up as. Williams back to Wales may be the start of a few heavy hitters departing. Interesting what will happen if they are forced to manage back to the cap immediately and yet have contracts with players that they must also honour

AlexC
05/11/2019 11:30
The more official statement from the prem site [www.premiershiprugby.com]

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 11:36
My Saints top 2 prediction?


NAILED ON


I actually think we win the Prem now

tedge
05/11/2019 11:52
What's the betting that they seek a review which takes so long that the points deduction cannot be applied this season and is therefore null and void ?

Abington Adam
05/11/2019 11:57
They've issued a statement denying everything and confirming they'll go to appeal. This could rumble on for a LONG time.

COME ON YOU SAINTS!
Church's Stand season ticket holder
EMRU Referee

tedge
05/11/2019 12:09
With 19 league matches to play they could potentially amass 95 points - from their current position of minus 25 that's a potential nett total of 70 which would probably be top 4. Unlikely of course but not necessarily a disastrous season for them and their players having a great incentive to prove people "wrong".

rugbymel
05/11/2019 12:15
Iím not sure how amassing 95 points would prove people wrong.

Saint Ted
05/11/2019 12:15
Based on the previous 5 seasons, the 35 point deduction will on average leave them 10th

Sarries have been pretty consistent with around 77 points.

That said I'm fully expecting them to partially win an appeal and the points reduction be brought down to about 24.

Couldn't care less about the fine, it means nothing in real terms to anyone else

StBleach
05/11/2019 12:32
Whilst this is a very serious matter, I do find it amusing that the fine includes 31p - I wonder how that was calculated.

Neil-H
05/11/2019 12:33
Don't forget, that if the payments aren't one off and they are consistently over the salary cap, then they have to off load players and as they found out before some years ago when they announced double figures of players they letting go until they released their pay offs are counted in the salary cap!

Or if you signed a contract with them for X amount a year and they now cant afford that within the cap, then I am sure they can be in trouble from the player if don't pay them it?

So they could be in trouble and will take a good few years now to turn this around!

Even if they get tis overthrown on courts, it means they will have to adhere to salary cap, so the above will have to happen whatever happens.

tedge
05/11/2019 12:37
Quote:
rugbymel
Iím not sure how amassing 95 points would prove people wrong.

As a motivational tool " the world's against us" etc etc

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 12:42
Alternatively ďWe have better players because we spend over the cap. You see, we just trounced you againĒ



Anyway I think the most important ramification is not this season. Saracens will no longer have a squad of players better than everyone else. They will have to be squeaky clean.

Saint Stokey
05/11/2019 13:15
In a normal season, 35 points wouldn't have seen Sarries relegated. The fine is insignificant. Wray will pay it then probably find a way to convert it into more shares that he has.

Anyway, based on last seasons points totals, with a 35 point deduction, Sarries would have finished 10th, out of the Champions Cup but staying in the Premiership. This season though, they are still in Europe and you'd imagine that they'd be going all out to win it to hope that they can compete again next year; but they will also need to focus on the Premiership. They will have to do this with a large number of their best players away with England during the 6 Nations and according to Sanderson, only playing 7 games in the Prem. It could be a tall order, especially if they don't capitalise on the games when other teams are stripped of players. They snuck past Irish, lost to us and only won against a poor Leicester side. It could be a tricky year for them.

What remains to be seen is... can they play out the season with their current squad or will they have to release players, though termination of contracts or loans. Can they still get the results that they need to avoid relegation? If they do finish bottom, will the Ring Fencing be brought in?

I guess the only consolation is that if Saracens do get relegated, at least they'll have a ground on a par with the rest of the league.*

shendy
05/11/2019 13:25
I thought that winning the HEC doesn't guarantee entry for the next season, since the competition was restructured.
But then I googled and found the relevant page on the EPCR site - straight from the horse's mouth.
[www.epcrugby.com]

Heineken Champions Cup
Nineteen clubs will qualify automatically for the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup in the following ways :.
- Guinness PRO14 (7): The three highest ranked clubs from each conference. The fourth-ranked clubs from each conference will play off for the seventh place. (NB South African clubs are not eligible.)
- TOP 14 (6): The six highest-ranked clubs based on their final finishing positions.
- Gallagher Premiership Rugby (6): The six highest-ranked clubs based on their final finishing positions.

In accordance with a decision of the EPCR Board comprising the nine unions, federations and league bodies, the 20th place in the Heineken Champions Cup will be determined as follows:
i) Heineken Champions Cup winner, if not already qualified
ii) Challenge Cup winner, if not already qualified
iii) Challenge Cup losing finalist, if not already qualified
iv) Play-off match between the losing Challenge Cup semi-finalists, if not already qualified
v) Highest ranked non-qualified club by virtue of league position from the same league as the Heineken Champions Cup winner

Scooby Saint COYS
05/11/2019 13:38
Blimey.

As an aside, I think that ruins my Ďstory of the seasoní prediction...

ďWinner:
- Saracens have a terrible start, and are in 7th at Christmas, but pull things around and still win via playoffs.Ē

[m.rugbynetwork.net]

Awaywin
05/11/2019 13:47
Quote:
Scooby Saint COYS
Blimey.
As an aside, I think that ruins my Ďstory of the seasoní prediction...

ďWinner:
- Saracens have a terrible start, and are in 7th at Christmas, but pull things around and still win via playoffs.Ē

[m.rugbynetwork.net]

Well it certainly is the terrible start!

fair_weather_fan
05/11/2019 14:11
In effect every match result involving Sarries over the past three seasons is null and void. The least they get is an asterisk by the premiership championships of those seasons. However teams were relegated - imagine if the results vs Sarries were removed and a different team finished bottom? What about the lost revenue of the team finishing fifth in the table that might have been in the playoffs?

The list of injustices goes on and on. Livelihoods of players at other clubs affected. Coaches getting the sack.

As it's been said the players involved should have realised. How welcome they will be around the league is hard to say... its professional sport. Not sure I would want any in our squad.

Saint Stokey
05/11/2019 14:13
On a lighter note, how many points to do we need to be safe from relegation now?

ramseysaint
05/11/2019 14:21
Isn't there a bit in the Mail saying something along the lines that if they appeal and it's upheld that they will be kicked out?

Shire
05/11/2019 14:27
Well who'd have thought the Daily Mail told the truth.That in itself is worthy of note

shendy
05/11/2019 14:28
Those words don't appear in the DM story linked above.
And I feel dirty having been to the DM website...

Saint.Kenneth
05/11/2019 15:02
So am I right in thinking that the titles and trophies that were won whilst these breaches were happening, havenít been stripped from them?

tedge
05/11/2019 15:43
Quote:
Saint.Kenneth
So am I right in thinking that the titles and trophies that were won whilst these breaches were happening, havenít been stripped from them?

I guess the counter argument to that is there is no way of knowing whether they would have won them if they had stayed within the cap or that they did win them because of the salaries

Saint_ST
05/11/2019 15:53
If any sponsors decide to distance themselves, it could be even more costly than just the fine.

tedge
05/11/2019 16:02
Agree with the points about the longer term effects. In the short term they still have the best squad and an excellent coach plus a winning mentality so they will survive the points deduction and could even make top 6. They will still produce quality players through their academy and attract good players from elsewhere, albeit paying less competitive salaries.

Long term they will have to compete on a level playing field and their financial base plus low attendances do look rather shaky.

fair_weather_fan
05/11/2019 16:27
Quote:
tedge
Quote:
Saint.Kenneth
So am I right in thinking that the titles and trophies that were won whilst these breaches were happening, havenít been stripped from them?

I guess the counter argument to that is there is no way of knowing whether they would have won them if they had stayed within the cap or that they did win them because of the salaries

Come on tedge, wake up. Look at Wendyball, field an ineligible player in a competition and you are out of the competition or face a punitive fine. Players that you couldn't afford inside the cap are by defintion almost, ineligible. If certain players weren't in their squad, but in others, thye are far less likely to win anything.

I wonder how the Chiefs fans are feeling now. When the breach was first mooted I made a rare trip to another board and found them far too relaxed aout the whole thing.

Saint Stokey
05/11/2019 16:35
Does anyone know the financial implications of coming 1st rather than 2nd in the league? Could exeter sue?

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 16:39
This is why I bang on about rugby needed to be fully transparent

We should all know ;-

Prize money for each competition at each stage (semi HC = £x, 3rd in League = £Y)

Player wages. These should all be openly published for every player in each squad as per NFL

fair_weather_fan
05/11/2019 16:56
Another thought. Haters of conspiracy theories should look away now.

The outcome of the enquiry was deferred, ostensibly so that the players weren't affected by the outcome while at the world cup, we were told. I thought that was a bad sign.

But who thought it was a good idea to defer? Imagine, we won the world cup four days ago and after everyone had been basking in the afterglow for three days, the **** properly hits the fan. What a total PR disaster, epic.

Maybe Warren put it round the England squad the night before......

tedge
05/11/2019 16:59
Quote:
fair_weather_fan
Quote:
tedge
Quote:
Saint.Kenneth
So am I right in thinking that the titles and trophies that were won whilst these breaches were happening, havenít been stripped from them?

I guess the counter argument to that is there is no way of knowing whether they would have won them if they had stayed within the cap or that they did win them because of the salaries

Come on tedge, wake up. Look at Wendyball, field an ineligible player in a competition and you are out of the competition or face a punitive fine. Players that you couldn't afford inside the cap are by defintion almost, ineligible. If certain players weren't in their squad, but in others, thye are far less likely to win anything.

I wonder how the Chiefs fans are feeling now. When the breach was first mooted I made a rare trip to another board and found them far too relaxed aout the whole thing.

I don't need to be told to wake up thanks. The comparison with football is inaccurate. Players in football are not ineligble according to their salaries, nor could they be in rugby because individual salaries are not capped.

shiversaint
05/11/2019 17:06
Quote:
Wilson Pickett
I think itís important to note this is not a reflection on the supporters or the players. They have a rich owner who is happy to cheat to win, IMHO that is all.

Supporters? Of course. Hard for them to explicitly know what was going on. If anything, they are victims.

Players? Jog on. Wouldn't have happened without their agreement to participate. They are by very definition complicit - the only thing up for debate is whether they understood what was going on (which I would find laughable that they didn't).

For someone who is ostensibly always full of apparently obvious logic, I'm staggered that you are taking this...naive position.

Wilson Pickett
05/11/2019 17:22
I look at it from the players perspective. If I was a Saracens player with a 5-7 year career at the top level, would I be turning down the cash? The club are telling me itís above board, Iím grafting all day every day... players in France are making bucket loads. If we were being honest I suspect 90% of us would take it. Itís easy to be holier than thou when not in that situation.

My blame is front and centre at a rich owner trying to fiddle the system to win.

Statesman
05/11/2019 17:30
Quote:
shiversaint
Quote:
Wilson Pickett
I think itís important to note this is not a reflection on the supporters or the players. They have a rich owner who is happy to cheat to win, IMHO that is all.

Supporters? Of course. Hard for them to explicitly know what was going on. If anything, they are victims.

Players? Jog on. Wouldn't have happened without their agreement to participate. They are by very definition complicit - the only thing up for debate is whether they understood what was going on (which I would find laughable that they didn't).

For someone who is ostensibly always full of apparently obvious logic, I'm staggered that you are taking this...naive position.

Shiversaint, you and I have had this debate before and sit on opposite sides of it. I can assure you that I have many faults - but naivety is not one of them! I, unlike you, understand the power of narrative. History is littered with many examples where otherwise extremely intelligent people have a belief which to outsiders is simply extraordinary - all I am saying is that the Wray narrative is very strong, very persistent and very believable.

SaintRich
05/11/2019 17:40
Quote:
shiversaint
Quote:
Wilson Pickett
I think itís important to note this is not a reflection on the supporters or the players. They have a rich owner who is happy to cheat to win, IMHO that is all.

Players? Jog on. Wouldn't have happened without their agreement to participate. They are by very definition complicit - the only thing up for debate is whether they understood what was going on (which I would find laughable that they didn't).

In absolute agreement here. The counter that the players thought it must have been all above board doesn't hold water for me.

Let's say Maro Itoje's agent knows his value is £700k in an open market scenario. When he comes up for a contract renewal, Saracens decide that to avoid paying this full amount out and in order to stay within cap, with the other 20 plus high end internationals in the squad, they declare a salary of £500k under the cap, whilst a further £200k investment is made into a joint venture property with him and Nigel Wray.
Now the above scenario is of course entirely fabricated but surely this is roughly what it is being suggested Saracens have done with a large number of their most significant players.

What I would ask in this scenario, is that are we supposed to be absolving the player of any knowledge or responsibility in what was going on? I am not arguing that a player shouldn't accept additional earnings, or should be materially punished for accepting it, but I don't just accept that they are completely blameless. My question is do we really think they thought it was all legit, did their agents etc?
It would have taken a lot of parties being in agreement with how payments were going to be structured in this scenario to make it work. Players weren't just wondering around clueless about the situation so in my view they must take some responsibility - of course the main culpability lays with Wray et al - but they are no saints in this whole messy affair.

tedge
05/11/2019 17:48
Quote: "I am not arguing that a player shouldn't accept additional earnings, or should be materially punished for accepting it, but I don't just accept that they are completely blameless. "

Supposing you are right what are you suggesting should be done about it ?

Saint.Kenneth
05/11/2019 17:52
Tedge, so you think itís fair that whilst breaking the competition rules, you then go on and win the competition?

SaintRich
05/11/2019 17:57
Quote:
tedge
Quote: "I am not arguing that a player shouldn't accept additional earnings, or should be materially punished for accepting it, but I don't just accept that they are completely blameless. "
Supposing you are right what are you suggesting should be done about it ?

As I mentioned in the post Tedge, I'm not arguing that players should be materially or financially punished. I'm simply saying I personally don't agree with those stating the players are blameless, it's not their fault or they simply didn't realise what was happening.
I think it's a pretty naive point of view to think that they were clueless, and whilst I'm not advocating any individual punishment, if they were complicit in deliberately hiding personal income from Salary Cap regulations by agreeing to external schemes then they helped the club cheat. As such, I have zero sympathy for the position their club no finds itself in.

tedge
05/11/2019 18:00
Quote:
Saint.Kenneth
Tedge, so you think itís fair that whilst breaking the competition rules, you then go on and win the competition?

No I agree it's unfair but I am suggesting there's no practical and useful way of dealing with it under the regulations other than what has already been done

195Rich
05/11/2019 18:49
Quote:
Al from Cov
The players knew full well what was going on, they all have agents that advise them, I'm afraid they are as complicit as the owner

Yep

fair_weather_fan
05/11/2019 21:08
I seem to remember when the investigation started a Sarries fan came on here saying that they could pay players more as they advised them not to use agents as they would have to pay the fees from their own deals. So that if true left the players more exposed to cap bending deals.

Chris Hoddle
06/11/2019 08:25
Just a thought, It claims it covers the last three years. Someone said that they were given the max 35 point reduction. However if that is per year then it could have been 105 point reduction? or 35 points for 3 years?

http://chrishoddle.smugmug.com/photos/i-TsCHdzK/0/M/i-TsCHdzK-M.gif

tedge
06/11/2019 10:15
Quote:
Chris Hoddle
Just a thought, It claims it covers the last three years. Someone said that they were given the max 35 point reduction. However if that is per year then it could have been 105 point reduction? or 35 points for 3 years?

I imagine it's a maximum per case and there has only been one case covering three seasons

lilyg
06/11/2019 13:43
There's quite an interesting discussion on the BBC about whether HMRC will be interested in what's happened

Brackleysaint
07/11/2019 11:46
Quote:
lilyg
There's quite an interesting discussion on the BBC about whether HMRC will be interested in what's happened

They will probably see this as some kind of tax avoidance.

Premiership Rugby could easily enforce more stringent reporting. They could make the players take ownership by making them declare annually any income whatsoever, all investments, any directorship of a company etc. If a player does not declare something that should have been or there are irregularities with how a company has been trading the ban them from playing in The Premiership.

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