Reigning Premiership and European champions Saracens have been hit with a huge fine and points deduction following an investigation into 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.
The findings of the independent panel who conducted the investigation are that Saracens 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 sanctions which have been imposed on Saracens are as follows:
- a total fine of £5,360,272.31
- and a total deduction of 35 league points
The points deduction will apply to the current season with Mark McCall’s side now on -26 points after two wins and one loss from their opening three games of the 2019/20 campaign.
Under the regulations, Saracens have 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.”