Saracens rugby club have been deducted 35 points and fined £5.3m after being found guilty of breaching salary cap rules. They will not launch an appeal against the punishments imposed by Premiership Rugby for salary cap breaches.
The reigning Premiership and European champions initially declared their intentions to fight the sanctions, which they deemed “heavy handed”.
Saracens are currently fourth in the Gallagher Premiership with nine points, but now face a fight for survival after being hit by the biggest sanction in the history of the league. Should they have suffered the same deduction last season it would have left them third from bottom of the table.
The club have been given until Monday to confirm their appeal.
Saracen’s head of finance, Bernard van Zyl left in September, along with fellow director Nick Leslau, who had been part of the club for more than 20 years. The club maintain there is no link between the departures and the investigation.
The salary cap rules allow for a £7m annual expenditure on players’ wages, along with two additional marquee players.
When questioned on the matter, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said, “Other people in the club are going to make that decision.
“As far as I know the deadline for that (the appeal) is tomorrow.”
His statements came just moments before Saracens’ Champions Cup encounter with Racing 92, which they lost 30-10.
Saracens confirm they are not appealing against their Premiership points deduction or massive fine. If nothing else their 35-point penalty will be a) a serious test of character and b) a major deterrent to others.
— robert kitson (@robkitson) November 18, 2019
The results of a seven-month investigation by the PRL were withheld while the 2019 Rugby World Cup was ongoing in Japan so as not to disrupt the progress of the English national team, which contained nine Saracens players including the captain Owen Farrell.
An independent panel which included barrister Lord Dyson, found the club had failed to disclose payments to players in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, and had also exceeded the limit for payments to senior players.
In a statement, PRL said: “The decision is 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.”
An independent panel which included barrister Lord Dyson also found the club had failed to disclose payments to players in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, and had also exceeded the limit for payments to senior players.
The independent panel were called upon following a nine-month investigation from Premiership Rugby found reason to charge the back-to-back English Champions.
The panel decided to uphold all charges.
Follow our live blog for updates on the days’ biggest stories.