Saracens accept 35-point deduction, won't appeal in salary cap case

Saracens have asked their top-earners to take a wage deferral due to the coronavirus pandemic. Warren Little/Getty Images

Saracens will not appeal against Premiership Rugby's ruling that the club breached the league's salary cap, meaning they will be docked 35 points in this season's league table and be required to pay a £5.3 million fine.

The back-to-back Premiership champions and reigning European champions now drop to the bottom of the table on -22 points. Leicester Tigers are now second bottom on 4 points with the side bottom of the table at the end of the season relegated to the Championship.

The points deduction means Saracens are likely to face a relegation battle and are unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions Cup unless they win this season's competition.

"Saracens today confirms that it is not going to appeal the recent ruling of the independent panel in relation to salary cap breaches," Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said in a statement.

"Any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise and so for the good of the game, the Premiership and this wonderful club and all its great people, a club which I have loved and served for 25 years, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and hopefully soon put this behind us.

"As chairman, I must take full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome. It is important to stress that our excellent coaching staff were not involved in these issues in any way.

"In addition, we can confirm that we are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard."

Saracens, whose squad features the likes of England stars Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, were found guilty earlier this month of breaching the league's salary cap in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby. The league passed their findings to an independent panel, headed up by Lord Dyson.

"We welcome Saracens' decision to accept the verdict of the independent panel and are pleased the club has crucially reaffirmed its commitment to the Premiership Rugby Salary Cap," Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, said.

"This is the right outcome for English club rugby. Bringing this process to a conclusion means that we can focus on working in partnership with all Clubs to continue to build a competitive and successful league."