VIDEO: Saracens will not be ripped apart
NEWS: Saracens chairman Nigel Wray has insisted the club’s all-conquering team will not have to be ripped apart after being deducted 35 points and fined more than £5 million ($6 million) for breaching the English Premiership’s salary cap.
The reigning English and European champions are appealing against the penalty after a nine-month investigation concluded they had broken the rules.
The sanctions are on hold until a verdict is delivered, likely in 2020.
Saracens boast a star-studded squad including Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola, who started the World Cup Final for England last weekend.
However, Wray believes those that have come through the club’s academy will stick by Saracens.
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— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) November 6, 2019
“Just to clarify, there’s no obligation whatsoever to get rid of any players,” Wray said in a video published on the club’s official Twitter account.
“If you think it’s about money, you’re wrong.
“It’s about caring, it’s about love, it’s about working together, and I’m very proud of all of our players and indeed everybody at Saracens.
“I’m proud of their achievements and I hope there will be many, many more achievements on the field and off.”
Wray is accused of contravening the cap by entering into co-investment deals with players.
Some of those to have lost out on titles to Saracens over recent seasons have even called for stricter punishments to be imposed such as relegation or title stripping.
Exeter Chiefs have lost the Premiership Final in the past two seasons to Saracens.
“They should be automatically relegated,” the Chiefs’ chairman Tony Rowe told The Times newspaper.
Former England captain Chris Robshaw accused Saracens of “cheating”.
“The game we love is in the world eye and the pinnacle of English rugby is illegal. I think it puts our sport in a very dangerous place,” said the Harlequins flank.
“We’re a sport that claims to be whiter than white, and we always look down on football, we look down on this and that and say how it is but we are like everyone else.
“This is cheating to a certain extent and it’s not a good situation for our sport to be in. Whether it’s them [Saracens] or someone else, it’s not a thing we pride ourselves on.”
Exeter’s Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has seen his side lose to Saracens in each of the last two Premiership finals, although he is not expecting them to be stripped of their titles.
Baxter said: “If this is upheld, it’s pretty obvious those titles have been won unfairly.
“If you’re asking me would I like to walk into Sandy Park and see three Premiership trophies there, I would love to.
“In reality, do I see that happening? No. But the whole truth is if Saracens had been operating with a different group of players last season, they may not have got to the final and if a different team had been there they might have outperformed us on the day.”
Meanwhile, Saracens could land a further punishment after they failed to attend Wednesday’s 2019-20 season launch of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in Cardiff.
AFP & @RugbyPass