Saracens opt not to appeal against 35-point deduction

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Despite initially saying they would challenge a huge points deduction for salary cap breaches, Saracens will not launch an appeal.
Despite initially saying they would challenge a huge points deduction for salary cap breaches, Saracens will not launch an appeal.

Saracens have opted not to appeal against a mammoth 35-point deduction and a £5.36million fine imposed for breaching salary cap regulations.

It was deemed the Premiership and European champions failed to disclose payments and exceeded the limit for salaries to players in each of the previous three seasons.

All of the charges were upheld by an Independent Panel, which followed a nine-month investigation from Premiership Rugby.

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The investigation was launched after it was revealed high-profile Sarries players had entered into investment or property partnerships with club owner Nigel Wray.

Wray denied willingly breaching regulations but accepted "full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome" in a statement published on Monday.

Sarries initially outlined their intention to challenge the ruling this month, stating they were "shocked and disappointed by these heavy-handed sanctions".

However, the club have decided not to pursue that route as they say "any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise".

Wray's statement added: "I recognise that the arrangements between myself and players, made in good faith, which comprise the material element of the charges, should have been brought to the attention of the salary cap manager for consultation prior to entering into them.

"It is significant that following extensive investigations the independent panel stated that we have 'not deliberately sought to circumvent the regulations' albeit we recognise that some of our actions were considered to be 'reckless'.

"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 a question and answer section posted below the lengthy statement, Saracens insist the decision does not affect any of the Premiership titles the team has previously won, nor will the club be forced to sell players.

Saracens also insist they are now in compliance with the salary cap and the punishment does not prevent the signing of new players.

Wray added the decision does not affect his commitment to Saracens, who "will now introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including a new appointment to the Saracens board who will oversee governance."

Sarries' punishment sees them drop to -22 points for the season, some 26 below the struggling Leicester Tigers.

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