The investigation around Saracens' breaching of the Premiership salary cap regulations will be concluded this month and could result in the top club and five-time champions being penalised by 35 league points in the 2019/20 season.
That will not only scupper their aspirations to win the title for the sixth time, but could even see the five time winners in the last ten competitions since their first win in 2010/11 being relegated.
It seems certain that some punishment will be exacted after a seven-month investigation following revelations that gratuities had allegedly been given to top players through ‘co-investment’ opportunities with the Saracens chairman Nigel Wray.
A Rugby365 article by ONLINE EDITORS reports that, as the panel’s decision comes following round 22 of the 2018/19 season, the points penalty would take place this season.
If a 35-point deduction had been taken off last season’s tally, Saracens would have dropped from their regular season second place position of 78 points down to a lowly 43 points, which would have seen them finish in 10th place, just two points ahead of Leicester Tigers in 11th.
If it is found that the club has overspent by more than £650,000, they face – at the very least – the maximum reduction 35 points reduction. Points deduction (greater than 35pts) to the point of relegation is the most severe reprimand open to the governing body – although it is unlikely in this case.
AAP reports that, on top of the points deduction, Saracens’ senior salary cap is also set to be punitively reduced, which will inevitably hamper the club’s efforts to hold onto and to lure new talent to Allianz Park. They also face a lump-sum fine.
The 12 other Premiership Rugby Limited clubs seem to be keen for Saracens to be punished as they feel the integrity of the competition is being compromised.
The official investigation by the Premiership’s salary cap manager had been passed on to an independent body that is expected to reveal the extent of the punishment this month.