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The true fallout from the Saracens salary cap scandal is only just beginning.
After much initial bluster Saracens, Europe’s leading club, will not contest their 35 point deduction and £5.36 million fine – the biggest punishment ever handed down by England’s Premiership Rugby – for what has been labelled financial doping.
The extent of Saracens’ cheating, which transpired over three last seasons, is yet to be published publicly but it can now be accepted that the club, through owner Nigel Wray who is worth around £315m, failed to disclose payments to several senior players.
This includes co-investments with England stars Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, and the club’s use of image-rights payments to offshore accounts.
Contrary to his initial strong reaction against the findings two weeks ago, Wray today accepted fault for Saracens salary cap breaches. The subsequent punishment immediately relegates the club from third to bottom of the Premiership on minus 22 points.
“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,” Wray said.
“We have made mistakes and so, with humility, we must accept these penalties. As a club, we will now pull together and meet the challenges that lie ahead.
“We confirm our commitment to the salary cap, and the underlying principle of a level playing field, and will con
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