Saracens was given two heavy sanctions for breaching salary cap by the Premiership Rugby after an independent disciplinary panel has reached a decision.
The charge relates to the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. This charges was brought against the European Champions in June this year after a nine-month investigation.
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 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.
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.
Saracens also released a statement:
SARACENS RUGBY CLUB IS SHOCKED AND DISAPPOINTED BY THESE HEAVY-HANDED SANCTIONS AND WILL LAUNCH AN APPEAL AGAINST ALL THE DISCIPLINARY PANEL’S FINDINGS.
The Club is pleased the Panel acknowledged it did not deliberately attempt to breach the salary cap and steadfastly maintains that player co-investments do not constitute salary under the regulations. This view is supported by independent legal and professional experts.
The Club will continue to vigorously defend this position especially as PRL precedent already exists whereby co-investments have not been deemed part of salary in the regulations.
As previously stated, the Club made administrative errors relating to the non-disclosure of some transactions to PRL and for this we apologise. We are pleased to confirm we now have a robust governance framework in place and this will be overseen by an external counsel to ensure the Club follows best practice.
Furthermore, it is the Club’s belief that the Panel’s narrow interpretation of the regulations is detrimental to player welfare across the league and is damaging the development of elite level rugby in the UK.
Saracens is proud of its pioneering, innovative approach to player welfare, developing their talents and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit for life beyond rugby.