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By Andy Goode for RugbyPass.com
The Saracens salary cap scandal is seismic for English rugby, it’s bigger than bloodgate and there will be more fallout to come.
They have been docked 35 points and fined £5.36 million, which is as tough a sanction as Premiership Rugby could impose under their regulations, but people will be waiting with bated breath to see what happens to the squad moving forwards.
Bloodgate was huge and good people lost their jobs for various reasons but it was a practice that people in the game knew had being going on a bit elsewhere as well. We can see from some of the statements from other clubs what they’ve made of this.
I know there’s precedent for stripping teams of their titles in other sports, with it having happened to Melbourne Storm in rugby league in particular, but I don’t think it’s in the Premiership’s rules to do that.
Juventus were relegated to Serie B in football as well as having a couple of titles taken away from them after a scandal of a slightly different nature and that is the punishment that Exeter chief executive Tony Rowe and others have called for.
I know the Chiefs would have a couple more trophies in the cabinet if Saracens were stripped of their titles but, as Rob Baxter has pointed out, you don’t know what would have happened retrospectively and I don’t think it makes much difference.
Exeter aren’t suddenly going to have massive celebrations if they’re handed another Premiership title or two and who knows what would have happened in recent finals if they’d have been up against another team.
Even if they aren’t taken away from Saracens, though, those Premiership titles will always be tainted now.
The here and now and what happens moving forward is far more important, though. We are yet to hear from Premiership Rugby whether this current Saracens squad is still over the salary cap and if it is, will they be forced to make changes immediately?
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