Premiership Rugby could revamp salary rules after Saracens breach

By John Skilbeck 20 December 2019 10
Premiership Rugby could revamp salary rules after Saracens breach

Premiership Rugby could overhaul its salary cap rules after launching a "comprehensive review" in the wake of English champions Saracens committing a costly breach.

Saracens, who are also holders of the European Champions Cup, were handed a 35-point deduction and a £5.36million fine by league chiefs at the start of November.

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

Premiership Rugby said on Thursday it was talking to Saracens about "additional measures" to allow the club to comply with its rules this season.

The investigation that resulted in the club's heavy punishment was launched after it was revealed high-profile Saracens players had entered into investment or property partnerships with owner Nigel Wray, who denied willingly breaching regulations.

Determined to avoid any further similar instance, Premiership Rugby said former Government minister Lord Myners would head up a review "to ensure a continued level playing field for all clubs in the future".

The credibility of Saracens' recent titles has been called into question by rival clubs after their breach came to light, but they have not been stripped of any honours.

Announcing its review, Premiership Rugby said in a statement it wanted its salary cap to be "a world-leading system with extensive investigatory powers and appropriately robust sanctions", saying all Premiership clubs and stakeholders in the game will be able to have a say.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs said: "The success of Premiership Rugby is based on a group of fiercely competitive clubs who agree to play by the same set of rules on and off the pitch.

"The salary cap has been fundamental to promoting competition since its introduction and, while we continue to apply the existing regulations robustly, this review is designed to ensure that we have a world-leading framework in place for the future."

The league authority intends to have recommendations in place by midway through 2020 and for the new rules to be established in time for the start of the 2020-21 Premiership season.

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John Skilbeck