The Full Saracens Salary Cap Breach Report Has Leaked Online
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The full 103-page report following an investigation into salary cap breaches by Saracen which resulted in them being relegated from the Premiership has been leaked online by Sky News.
The reigning Premiership champions were docked 35 points and fined over £5 million earlier in the season when the report was first finalised before a further investigation into their financial dealings this season resulted in their automatic relegation to the Championship.
Joint-property ventures involving England internationals Maro Itoje, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Richard Wigglesworth and Chris Ashton played a key role in the punishment outcome. But there is no suggestion that any of these players knew anything about any salary cap breaches taking place.
The Disciplinary Panel, led by Lord Dyson, accepted that Saracens’ breaches of the regulations were in fact “not deliberate” in any way and had advised against their relegation, believing it would be a disproportionate punishment.
But they did find that Saracens had broken the rules on several occasions with the charges ranging in value from £511.92 to £800,000. In 2016/17, Saracens overspent by more than £1.1m, in 2017/18 it was just over £98,000 and in 2018/19 it was £906,000.
Saracens owner Nigel Wray, who stepped down as the club’s chairman earlier this month was found to have made payments totalling £1.3m by entering into joint-property ventures with a number of players.
Billy and Mako Vunipola received £450,000 between them, scrumhalf Richard Wrigglesworth was given £220,000, while Maro Itoje was given £250,000. Wray considered these payments to be equity investments and if they were declared as such at the time – they would have been approved by the salary cap manager.
Itoje was also paid a lump sum for three years of £30,000, £30,000, £35,000 by a Saracens-connected hospitality company based at Allianz Park. The report also notes a salary cap breach with regards to what they said was an overspend of £871,000 by Wray and two other directors buying shares in Maro Itoje’s image rights company.
Saracens were also found to have breached the salary cap by £319,600.76 with regard to a property bought by former player Chris Ashton.
But the panel ultimately advised against the relegation of Saracens and noted in their decision:
“We accept that the breaches were not deliberate, but in our view they were reckless. We consider that to impose a deduction of 70 points in one Salary Cap Year is disproportionate and is not required to satisfy the underlying purpose of the relegations.”
Y0u can read more about the report here.